Gazans denounce visit by Qatari envoy

Qatari Ambassador to Gaza Mohammed Al-Emadi (C) leaves following a press conference at the Dar Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City with the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza after Qatar signed an agreement to provide a nine million dollar humanitarian relief grant to residents of the Palestinian enclave. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Gazans denounce visit by Qatari envoy

GAZA CITY: Palestinians on Monday protested against Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi during his visit to the Gaza Strip.
The crowd closed in on the Qatari envoy as he concluded a press conference at the Dar Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where he announced that Doha would donate $9 million in aid to address fuel and medicine shortages in the Gaza Strip.
Al-Emadi was whisked away in his vehicle under Hamas police escort. No one was injured during the protests.
Angry crowds heckled the Qatar emissary criticizing his country and its empty promises and expressed disappointment with the envoy because he refused to address their plight during his statements.
Al-Emadi told the striking workers, most of them hospital staff, that the Palestinian Authority was the only party authorized to discuss the issue of their unpaid salaries.
Other Palestinians tore off the aid banners carrying the photo of the amir of Qatar as well as bringing down the Qatari flag.
The Qatari envoy said earlier Monday that both Israel and Gaza want to contain cross-border violence that has flared in recent days, as he detailed a new emergency fund to aid the blockaded territory.
Earlier Monday, Israel’s military struck what it said was an underground infrastructure site in Gaza in response to rocket fire. The military has struck various targets in Gaza in recent days and killed two Palestinians, who tried to infiltrate Israel after a bomb on the border wounded four Israeli soldiers.
There were no reports of casualties from the latest strike.
“We confirm through our relationship with the two sides that they are not interested in escalation or engaging in a confrontation that could ignite the entire region,” the Qatari envoy, Mohammed Al-Emadi, told reporters in Gaza City.
Al-Emadi, whose country maintains contacts with the Hamas and has hosted its leaders, coordinates Qatar’s relief and reconstruction projects in Gaza. On Monday, he announced details of a $9 million emergency fund for addressing fuel and medicine shortages.
Gaza has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas wrested control of the territory from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in 2007. A dispute over money and revenue collections has stalled a reconciliation deal between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, which Egypt brokered in October.
Abbas has since stepped up financial pressure on Gaza. Hamas says the cuts are endangering the functioning of Gaza hospitals.
The Qatari grant includes $2 million in medical supplies and $500,000 for fuel to power backup generators in Gaza’s public health centers, enough to keep them running for a month.
Trucks loaded with the supplies and decorated with Qatari flags and posters of the oil-rich sheikhdom’s rulers could be seen outside Gaza City’s main Shifa hospital on Monday, where Al-Emadi and UN officials spoke.
Hospital cleaning workers demonstrated their support during the ceremony, holding signs reading “Thank you, Qatar.” They have been on a strike for 10 days, demanding payment from the Hamas-run Health Ministry. Hamas and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority are locked in a dispute over who is responsible for paying them.
The Gaza border area has been generally quiet since a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014. But it has seen an increase in violence since President Donald Trump’s announcement in December recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


Turkey orders detention of 144 over Gulen links

Updated 4 min 6 sec ago
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Turkey orders detention of 144 over Gulen links

  • More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial since the coup and widespread arrests are still routine
  • Authorities have suspended or sacked 150,000 civil servants and military personnel

ISTANBUL: The Istanbul chief prosecutor said on Friday it had ordered the detention of 126 suspects employed in the judicial system with alleged links to the network of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who Turkey says orchestrated a July 2016 coup attempt.
About 250 people were killed in the failed putsch, in which Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, has denied involvement. Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Turkey says that along with its military and state institutions, its judiciary was infiltrated by members of Gulen’s network. Since the coup, thousands of prosecutors and judges have been dismissed.
The prosecutor’s office said the suspects had lived in houses where the network trained individuals for work in the judicial system. The network then sought to place those who passed the exam in the judicial system as prosecutors or judges, while the rest became part of the network’s lawyer organization.
Of the 126 suspects, 108 were lawyers on active duty, eight were judge or prosecutor candidates who were previously removed from their positions and one was a judge or prosecutor candidate on active duty, the prosecutor’s office said.
Addresses of 12 of the suspects could not be determined or records showed they had left the country, it said, adding that operations spread over 37 provinces to detain the remaining 114 people were continuing.
In a separate operation on Friday, Ankara chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the detention of 18 suspects accused of links to Gulen who were working as engineers for the defense industry company Havelsan.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial since the coup and widespread arrests are still routine. Authorities have suspended or sacked 150,000 civil servants and military personnel.
Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the crackdown, with Erdogan’s critics accusing him of using the putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkish authorities say the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.