Middle East

Abbas seeks 'unprecedented' steps to end Palestinian split

FILE -- In this Oct. 1, 2016 file photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks during a conference in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. Abbas told Palestinian diplomats in Bahrain on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, that  he will take "unprecedented steps" to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Measures will likely include more financial pressure on Gaza, after he recently slashed salaries of 60,000 ex-civil servants and members of the security forces by one-third. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)

FILE -- In this Oct. 1, 2016 file photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaks during a conference in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. Abbas told Palestinian diplomats in Bahrain on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, that he will take "unprecedented steps" to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Measures will likely include more financial pressure on Gaza, after he recently slashed salaries of 60,000 ex-civil servants and members of the security forces by one-third. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)  (The Associated Press)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will take "unprecedented steps" to end the political division between his West Bank-based autonomy government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

The Islamic militant group Hamas seized Gaza from Abbas in 2007. The rivals failed to reconcile. A unity government set up by Abbas in 2014 never got off the ground in Gaza.

Abbas said in comments published by the official news agency WAFA late Wednesday that "we are going to take unprecedented steps in coming days to end the division."

He did not explain. Measures will likely include financial pressure on Hamas.

In a recent blow to Gaza's fragile economy, Abbas slashed by one-third the salaries of 60,000 ex-civil servants and troops who have stayed home since the Hamas takeover but continue to get paid.