As part of his reforms of the security forces, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas named Rashid Abu Shbak chief of the Preventive security service.

This device is the one in charge of controlling the resistance groups, Palestinian sources said.

Abu Shbak ran the Gaza-branch of this device for two years, succeeding Mohammad Dahaln, currently Minister of Civil Affairs.

Jibreel Al_Rajoub, now Abbas’s national security advisor, headed the West Bank branch for a long time.

Abu Shbak is one of the young generation of leaders in Abbas’ ruling Fatah movement, and his appointment is in keeping with Abbas’ recent efforts to sweep out members of the old guard associated with his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

He was for long member of the armed resistance in Fatah, and was jailed by Israel in the 70s and 80s for almost 16 years total for his activities, before he has been deported to south Lebanon.

Abu Shbak – who became fluent in Hebrew during his time in Israeli prisons – joined other Fatah leaders in Tunisia, returning to Gaza in 1994 with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

During Arafat’s era, he was appointed deputy chief of Preventive Security in Gaza, a position he held until 2003, when he became the agency’s top official.

Abbas also appointed two deputies to Abu Shbak. While Ziyad Habalreh will be in charge of the Preventive Security Service in the West Bank, Suleiman Abu Mutlaq will head the Gaza branch.

On Saturday, the Abbas completed a key element of reform by consolidating the nine branches of his security service into three. He also forced around 1150 officers to retire, including two of the leading security figures.