Sunday, 14 April 2013

Turkey's Erdogan to visit Gaza in May

ISTANBUL (AFP) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday announced plans to visit Gaza at the end of May, possibly after a key trip to Washington which brokered a rapprochement between Turkey and Israel last month.

"God willing, we will be in Gaza at the end of May. We will embrace one another there," Erdogan said through a video link with a Turkish aid centre in the coastal territory media reported.

Erdogan, a staunch advocate of the Palestinian cause, earlier said he would visit Gaza in April "to help the process" of lifting an Israeli embargo on Gaza.

That announcement came a day after a breakthrough apology on March 22 from Israel for the deaths of nine Turks during a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which had wrecked ties between the former allies. more

Protesters set Israel watchtower on fire

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian demonstrators on Saturday threw two home-made bombs toward a concrete military watchtower, causing soldiers to temporarily evacuate it.

Israeli troops left the watchtower immediately and dozens of demonstrators piled burning tires against the Israeli separation wall around Aida refugee camp, witnesses said.

Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets toward the Palestinians. Five Palestinians suffered from tear-gas inhalation.

In the al-Khader village near Bethlehem, clashes erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian youths. Three Palestinians were wounded with plastic-coated steel bullets. more

Gaza woman dies after self immolation

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 22-year-old woman died on Saturday after setting herself on fire last week, a medical official said.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an that the woman, whose identity remained hidden, suffered burns to 80 percent of her body after pouring gasoline over herself and setting it alight. more

PA prime minister Salam Fayyad resigns

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Abbas accepted the resignation of Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday, despite US efforts for him to stay on, official news agency Wafa reported.

"Fayyad met Abbas for half an hour in the president's headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank and officially handed him his written resignation," a Palestinian official told AFP.

Abbas tasked Fayyad with the role of caretaker for the current government until a new prime minister is appointed, another official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The two men have been at loggerheads amid mounting criticism of the prime minister's economic policies in the ruling Fatah movement, but Washington has lobbied hard for the US-educated economist to stay on. more