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Palestinian president removes long-time critic from No. 2 position in PLO, consolidates power

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RAMALLAH, West Bank — An official says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has fired a long-time critic from the No. 2 job in the Palestine Liberation Organization in what is seen as his latest move to sideline potential rivals.

Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO member, says Yasser Abed Rabbo was removed as PLO secretary general in a leadership meeting late Tuesday headed by Abbas, the organization's leader.

Abed Rabbo has criticized Abbas' policies and leadership style. Abbas has alleged in closed-door meetings that Abed Rabbo is part of a group of Palestinian politicians trying to undermine him with financial support from the United Arab Emirates.

Participants in Tuesday's session say Abbas told them he's sacking Abed Rabbo for failing to attend recent meetings and gave no other reason.

Abbas' office had no immediate comment Wednesday.

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