Abbas says Palestinians have 'right to defend themselves' following Hamas attacks on Israel
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves against the "Israeli crimes and violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Palestinian Territories".
The comments appeared to back Hamas's major operation against Israel early on Saturday, which saw the Gaza-based group capture several Israeli towns and take dozens of Israelis prisoner.
Reuters also reported that at least 22 Israelis had been killed and 545 were injured.
During an emergency meeting held in Ramallah, Abbas instructed the Palestinian Authority to provide everything necessary "to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the face of crimes committed by the Israeli occupation and settler gangs", the Palestinian official agency WAFA reported.
Abbas will chair another meeting with the Palestinian leadership, including members of the Executive Committees of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Central Committee of Fatah and leaders of the security services, in the coming hours, WAFA added.
It was the first comment issued by the Palestinian president following Hamas's surprise military operation, dubbed "Al-Aqsa Flood Operation", against Israel.