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Middle East

Abbas calls on Hamas to accept Egyptian plan, Israeli attacks continue

Article published on the 2009-01-10 Latest update 2009-01-10 11:33 TU

Israeli artillery fires towards Gaza(Photo: Reuters)

Israeli artillery fires towards Gaza
(Photo: Reuters)

After meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas called on Hamas to accept Egypt's peace plan for Gaza "without hesitation". A Hamas delegation is in Cairo, as Israeli bombardments of the Gaza Strip continue and the army reports exchanges of fire with Palestinian fighters throughout the territory.

"The situation does not allow us to lose time," said Abbas, adding that the Egyptians should "iron out" the reservations of different parties to the conflct.

The Hamas delegation is to meet Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian official responsible for Israeli-Palestinian affairs. Leading members of the Islamic party say they will reject any ceasefire which does not oblige Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza.

Israeli bombardments continued Saturday, on the third week of the operation. The army says that it carried out 40 air strikes overnight and that ground troops have exchanged fire with Palestinian fighters throughout the territory.

There were protests against the Israeli offensive from Indonesia to Latin America on Friday, with more taking place on Saturday.

Police clash with protesters in Algiers(Photo: Reuters)

Police clash with protesters in Algiers
(Photo: Reuters)

Riot police in Egypt tried to prevent a crowd of at least 50,000 demonstrating in Cairo but were overwhelmed by the weight of numbers. There were also clashes between police and protesters in Jordan and Algeria, where officials say that 23 police officers and 40 "other people" were injured.

Clashes broke out between supporters of Hamas and Abbas's Fatah in the West Bank. Palestinian Authority police are accused of factinal bias in favour of Fatah, sayd correspondent Mark Klusener.

"Anyone who is seen displaying a Hamas flag, a Hamas banner, is immediately singled out and very often is being beaten," he told RFI.

Interview: West Bank correspondent Mark Klusener

10/01/2009 by Angela Diffley

In Latin America there were protests in Argentina and Paraguay, while Israeli supporters marched in Mexico.

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution, which was previously approved by the Senate, giving full support to Israel. It called on Hamas to end rocket attacks, renounce violence and recognise Israel's right to resist.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Friday declined to give a time frame for the operation but insisted that Israel is "not looking to reoccupy the Gaza Strip".