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Jun 24, 2013

Egypt steps up Gaza tunnel crackdown, dismaying Palestinians

GAZA (Reuters) – Egypt has intensified a crackdown on smuggling tunnels between its volatile Sinai desert and the Gaza Strip, causing a steep hike in petrol and cement prices in the Palestinian territory.

Palestinians involved in the tunnel business say that the campaign, which began in March and has included flooding of underground passages, was ramped up in the past two weeks before a wave of opposition-led protests in Egypt expected to start on June 30.

Jun 20, 2013

Palestinians step up campaign for Gaza “Arab Idol” star

GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian fans and big business are rallying behind a 22-year-old singer from the Gaza Strip in a final push to vote him the next “Arab Idol” in a TV talent contest choosing a winner in Beirut on Saturday.

Mohammed Assaf is the first Palestinian to qualify for “Arab Idol”, the Middle East’s version of “American Idol”, in which contestants perform for judges and voting viewers.

Jun 19, 2013

Hamas says its Iran ties worsen over Syrian civil war

GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas said on Wednesday its relations with financial backer Iran have suffered as a result of the Islamist group’s support of rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time Iranian ally.

Hamas was also once an Assad ally but last year endorsed the revolt against him in a shift that deprived the Syrian leader of an important Sunni Muslim supporter in the Arab world.

May 13, 2013

Palestinians unite behind Gaza Strip “Arab Idol” star

GAZA, May 13 (Reuters) – The fractious factions in the Gaza
Strip and across the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories
have found one voice to unite behind – a 22-year-old youth
singing songs about a lost homeland on the Middle East’s version
of ‘American Idol’.

Gaza native Mohammed Assaf has become the first Palestinian
to qualify for ‘Arab Idol’, a TV talent show staged in Beirut,
in which singers perform for judges and voting viewers.

May 8, 2013

Influential Muslim cleric visits Hamas-ruled Gaza

GAZA (Reuters) – Leading Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi paid a high-profile visit to Gaza on Thursday, giving a boost to the Islamist group Hamas that runs the enclave, but also laying bare Palestinian rivalries.

Qaradawi, chairman of the International Federation of Muslim Clerics, is based in Qatar and has been a vociferous supporter of the revolutions that have shaken the Arab world in the last two years, bringing new governments to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

May 8, 2013

Feature: Hamas looks to root out Israel’s spy networks

GAZA (Reuters) – The alleged spy buried his face in his hands inside a Gaza jail as he admitted passing intelligence to Israel during its battles with armed Palestinian groups.

“My handlers in Israel called me and told me that collaborators in Gaza don’t know one another and that each worked alone, so hide and stay as you are,” the man told visiting reporters, under the watchful eye of a plainclothed Hamas security officer.

May 8, 2013

Hamas looks to root out Israel’s spy networks

GAZA (Reuters) – The alleged spy buried his face in his hands inside a Gaza jail as he admitted passing intelligence to Israel during its battles with armed Palestinian groups.

“My handlers in Israel called me and told me that collaborators in Gaza don’t know one another and that each worked alone, so hide and stay as you are,” the man told visiting reporters, under the watchful eye of a plainclothed Hamas security officer.

May 3, 2013

Hamas rebuffs Arabs for softening Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

GAZA (Reuters) – Islamist Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip on Friday rejected a revised Middle East peace initiative put forward by the Arab League, saying outsiders could not decide the fate of the Palestinians.

In meetings this week in Washington, Arab states appeared to soften their 2002 peace plan, acknowledging that Israelis and Palestinians may have to swap land in any eventual peace deal.

Apr 30, 2013

Palestinian killed in Gaza by targeted Israeli air strike

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Tuesday launched its first targeted attack on a militant in Gaza since a war in November, killing a Palestinian jihadist in an air strike that put further strain on a five-month-old ceasefire.

There was also bloodshed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where for the first time since 2011, a Palestinian killed a Jewish settler. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded the attacker after he stabbed the man at a busy intersection.

Apr 16, 2013

Gaza farmers burn tonnes of basil, mint after Israel border shut

GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian farmers in Gaza began destroying three tonnes of herbs on Saturday, saying a prolonged closure of the crossing into Israel meant the plants were no longer fit for export to Europe.

Last October, Israel lifted a five-year ban on the lucrative export of Gazan herbs and spices, imposed after the Islamist Hamas group seized control of the coastal enclave, and farmers had hoped to cash in with their latest crop of mint and basil.

    • About Nidal

      "I have been Reuters senior correspondent in Gaza since 1996 working alongside a team of photographers and video journalists covering one of the world's perennial 'hot spots'."
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