Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Abbas, Mashaal to meet during Cairo visit


CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) -- Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi plans to meet the leaders of Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday in a renewed effort to help them heal their five-year-old feud, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said.

The officials said Mursi would meet individually with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Khaled Mashaal of Hamas to discuss a stalled reconciliation deal the two agreed in Cairo last year.

Egyptian mediators had hoped to coax them into the same room, but a Palestinian source told Reuters the two will meet later in the evening, without the Egyptian president.

Abbas is reluctant to any format which would imply giving the Hamas leader a status equivalent to his own.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri downplayed the talks in Cairo, describing them as "exploratory."

"Egyptian officials aim to explore where things stand and look into the best ways to activate reconciliation efforts," he told Reuters. more

Boat teams rescue families from Gaza floods


GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Rescue crews used fishing boats to help 25 families trapped in a flooded plain in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, amid icy storms have in the region this week.

Civil defense spokesman Muhammad Al-Maathaneh said a low plain in Rafah was under water, and 300 homes were at risk of flooding. more