Palestinian Authority employees prevented from resuming work at Gaza ministries

Palestinian Authority employees were blocked from returning to work at a number of ministries in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, AFP reported. This is seen as another sign of tension ahead of a reconciliation deadline. Islamist movement Hamas is due to hand back control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority by Friday. The Hamas-run union for public employees said it had instructed its delegates to block former employees from returning to work. The ban would continue until a decision regarding the current Hamas employees was agreed. Control of some ministries has already been transferred. After the 2007 power shift, the Palestinian Authority continued to pay around 60,000 staff in Gaza, despite the vast majority not working. Hamas has hired around 50,000 civil servants to replace them in the past decade. Their future is a key sticking point.