Thursday, 4 July 2013

Egypt unrest slows down Gaza construction

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Unrest in Egypt has slowed down construction in the Gaza Strip, which relies on building materials smuggled in through cross-border tunnels, a union official said Thursday.

Israel only allows construction material into Gaza through its border for internationally-funded and approved projects, and this is the only building material available in Gaza since the tunnel trade slowed down, said Nabil Abu Meiliq, head of the union of Palestinian contractors.

Abu Meiliq says no construction material is coming into Gaza from Egypt. Construction is down to 20 percent since tunnel traffic halted, ending a brief building boom in Gaza, Abu Meiliq told Ma'an.

Several projects funded by the Qatari government are on hold, including the Sheikh Hamad city, due to shortages of materials including cement, Abu Meiliq added.

Before smuggling tunnels closed, a ton of cement cost around 400 shekels ($110), but each ton is now selling for up to 1,000 shekels. more

Gaza police uncover forgery network

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Police on Wednesday arrested two men in the northern Gaza Strip suspected of involvement in a network forging Israeli currency.

Inspector Talal Ali said a suspect was arrested in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza City in possession of 20-million-shekels ($5.5 million) of counterfeit 100-shekel notes.

The suspect said he received the bills from another man, who police detained and interrogated, Ali told Ma'an. Police found 350,000 shekels in forged notes in a raid on the second suspect's home, Ali said. more

Hamas 'does not fear' fall of Egypt leader

GAZA (Ma'an) -- Hamas does not fear the fall of Egypt’s president Mohamed Mursi and is concerned only with the stability of the neighboring country, a leader in the Islamist party said Wednesday.

“We do not fear the fall of President Mohamed Mursi," Ahmad Yousef told Ma’an. “We fear the dramatic changes that could cause things to go out of hand and lead to bloodshed”.

“There is no doubt that the whole Arab world is waiting and hoping that the situation in Egypt stabilizes,” he said.

“We only care about stability in Egypt regardless of who is in charge. Egypt is a lifeline to us; it’s a major factor in the stability of the internal Palestinian situation -- it is our backbone,” Yousef added.

He hoped a political solution could be found for the crisis and lead Egypt to the "shore of safety."

In Ramallah, President Mahmoud Abbas called for Palestinians not to interfere in internal issues of Arab countries, hours before Egypt's army chief announced a coup bringing down Mohamad Mursi.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinian leadership’s frequently reiterated position that it remains neutral and rejects all interference in any other Arab countries. more