Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has asked a former finance minister to form an emergency government, hours after the Hamas-Fatah coalition authority collapsed. Salam Fayyad, an independent legislator, will have to contend with Hamas' Ismail Hayineh, who still lays a claim to the PM's office.
Although Abbas remains in charge in the West Bank, the BBC reports his fiats—and appointees—are largely powerless in Gaza. A tenuous calm gripped the bloodied Strip today, after Abbas dismantled the unity government and declared a state of emergency. Hamas claimed military victory over its rivals last night after days of brutal fighting, releasing Fatah chiefs under what it called an "amnesty."