Top Algeria politician resigns as party head

Updated 06 January 2013
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Top Algeria politician resigns as party head

ALGIERS: One of Algeria’s most prominent politicians has resigned his post as the head of his political party in the latest political maneuverings ahead of next year’s key presidential elections.
Ahmed Ouyahia, who was once considered a frontrunner for the country’s top post because of his backing by this oil-rich nation’s powerful generals, announced Thursday his resignation as secretary-general of the National Democratic Rally.
“My resignation is not in service of a personal agenda, but rather its sole motive is to preserve the unity of our party,” he said in his message. For much of the past year, several major figures in the party have been pushing for Ouyahia to step down.
Algeria regularly holds presidential and parliamentary elections, but true power is believed to be held by a shadowy collection of generals working behind the scenes.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, announced he would not run for a fourth term next year, leaving the race for the presidency wide open.
In November, several other rumored front-runners for the post were implicated in widely publicized corruption scandals.
Political analyst Ahmed Adimi of Algiers University, said Ouyahia was pushed out of power by the generals to clear the way for new faces ahead of elections to give the country’s politics some semblance of change amid popular discontent.


Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

Updated 52 min 25 sec ago
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Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

GAZA: Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip on Friday warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh clashes along the frontier.
Thousands of Palestinians were expected to gather along the Israel-Gaza border, as they have every Friday over the past month for mass demonstrations that have turned violent and during which Israeli forces have killed thirty-one Palestinians and wounded hundreds.
Each week, some Gazans have hurled stones and burning tires near the frontier fence, where Israeli army sharpshooters are deployed.
The soldiers have opened fire at those who come too close to the fence, drawing international criticism for the lethal tactics used.
Israel has blamed the Islamist militant group Hamas of staging riots and trying to carry out attacks.
It was the first time leaflets were dropped in the recent round of violence.
“The Hamas terror organization is taking advantage of you in order to carry out terror attacks. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” said the leaflets scattered by Israeli aircraft in the early morning in areas along the border.
The mass protest, dubbed “The Great March of Return” — evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel — began on March 30 and is expected to culminate on May 15.