GAZA CITY: Leaders of rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas spoke via telephone on the eve of the Eid Al Adha holiday, stressing the need for reconciliation, a Hamas official said yesterday.
Gaza’s Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyah spoke to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of the “need for a return to national unity and an end to division” during the late night conversation, a Hamas official said on condition of anonymity.
The two men exchanged greetings for Eid Al Adha, which Muslims began celebrating yesterday. The Islamist Hamas movement and its rival Fatah, Abbas’ party that dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, have been at odds since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Since signing an Egyptian-brokered deal in 2011 they have been attempting to heal their rifts.
The Cairo deal pledged to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for parliamentary and presidential elections within 12 months. But the implementation of the accords stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza. Hamas still opposes the appointment of prime minister Rami Hamdallah, choosing instead to recognise its own Haniyah.
Bomb targeting worshippers kills 12 in Iraq
KIRKUK, Iraq: A bomb ripped through a crowd of worshippers as they left a Sunni mosque in Iraq yesterday, killing 12 people, as they marked the start of the Eid Al Adha holiday. Three children, a policeman and an army officer were among the dead from the blast in the northern city of Kirkuk, which also wounded 26 people, police and a doctor said.
Bodies, their clothes covered in blood, were placed in the back of a police pickup truck to be taken away, a journalist reported.
Angry and grieving people railed against those who carried out the attack, shouting: “God take revenge on those who are evil!”aFP