Hamas announces formation of new naval coast guard unit

Apparently Olmert's initiative against Hamas only served to help empower them, as they now have their own naval coast guard unit. Ha'aretz reports:

The Hamas militia policing Gaza - the Executive Force - on Saturday announced the formation of its new coast guard unit - the Marine Police.

Saber Khalifeh, a spokesman for the Executive Force, said the new body will consist of 150 members and soon begin its operations off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

He said the new force's main functions will include preventing the smuggling of drugs into Gaza, protecting Gaza's fishermen and maintaining security for Gaza residents on the beach.

The unit is the latest in a series of steps taken by Hamas to establish its authority and restore law and order in the coastal strip, after Hamas' bloody takeover of Gaza from its rival Fatah faction in June.

Hamas has already introduced a new traffic police unit and will soon open a new internal security agency, Hamas officials said. "

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