Gaza Strip employees paid by the Palestinian Authority wait to receive their salaries outside a closed bank after a scuffle with employees appointed by Hamas since 2007, in Gaza City on June 5, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED)
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An argument over money set off the first serious dispute Monday between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamist militant group Hamas since the longtime rivals formed a unity government a week ago.The standoff over salary payments for more than 40,000 government employees – hired by Hamas during its seven-year rule of the Gaza Strip – highlights the volatile nature of the relationship between Abbas and Hamas.Last week, the unity government began disbursing salaries to some 150,000 civil servants loyal to Abbas, but said it will take time to find a way to pay the former Hamas employees.However, Hamas security forces were deployed outside closed banks Monday, not former Hamas civil servants.In comments earlier this week, Abbas indicated he is in no hurry to pay the Hamas loyalists.
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