Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vows "to control the chaos in Gaza" by the end of the year.
But Abbas told that he would not try to disarm the powerful militant group Hamas to assert Palestinian Authority control.
"There is no point at the moment, it would be a useless step that would be destined to start a civil war," Abbas said, despite a call in a U.S.-backed peace "road map" for the Palestinian Authority to confiscate "illegal weapons".
For its part, Israel has ignored the road map's call for a halt to Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
"Give me until the end of the year and I will be able to control the chaos in Gaza," Abbas said. "Now that the Israeli pullout is completed, we will be able to better deal with the problem."
Abbas praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for having taken a "very important and courageous step" in removing 8,500 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. He also warned Sharon against trying to trade Gaza, Reuters reports.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building