Palestinian President Abbas blames Hamas for bomb attack on PM convoy in Gaza

Palestinian president MahmOud Abbas has blamed Hamas for the attack on his prime minister Rami Hamdallah. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2018
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Palestinian President Abbas blames Hamas for bomb attack on PM convoy in Gaza

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 19 : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday blamed the Islamist Hamas group for the March 13 bomb attack on the convoy of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza, saying it was a “despicable and sinful act.”
Hamdallah and Palestinian security chief Majid Faraj were uninjured when a roadside bomb exploded as they entered the Gaza Strip on their way to a ceremony in the enclave that is dominated by the Hamas faction and is a rival of Abbas’s Fatah faction.
“We give congratulate the two big brothers (Hamdallah and Faraj) that they are safe after the sinful and despicable attack that was carried out against them by the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip,” Abbas said in a speech in Ramallah.


Tunisia’s president says PM should quit if crisis continues

Updated 15 min 23 sec ago
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Tunisia’s president says PM should quit if crisis continues

  • Tunisia has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011
  • Turmoil and militant attacks have deterred investors and tourists, eroding living standards of ordinary people

TUNIS: Tunisia’s president called on Sunday for Prime Minister Youssef Chahed to step down or seek a confidence quote if the country’s political and economic crisis continues, withdrawing his support for the premier, who has clashed with the president’s son.
President Beji Caid Essebsi’s son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, who is leader of the ruling Nidaa Tounes party, called last May for Chahed’s dismissal because of his government’s failure to revive the economy. His call was supported by the powerful UGTT union, which rejected economic reforms proposed by the prime minister.
“There is a difference between the parties and national organizations about the government, between government and key players like UGTT and some parties,” Essebsi said in an interview broadcast by local Nesma TV.
“If this situation continues, the prime minister must resign or go to the parliament to ask for confidence,” he said.
Chahed, who was appointed by Essebsi in 2016, has accused the president’s son of destroying the Nidaa Tounes party, and said the crisis in the party has affected state institutions.
The moderate Islamist party Ennahda has said the exit of the prime minister would hit stability at a time when the country needed economic reforms.
Tunisia has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 without triggering violent upheaval, as happened in Syria and Libya.
But since then nine cabinets have failed to resolve economic problems including high inflation and unemployment, and impatience is rising among lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, which have kept the country afloat.
Seven prime ministers have failed to fix a sluggish economy. Turmoil and militant attacks have deterred investors and tourists, eroding living standards of ordinary people and causing an increase in unemployment.
Annual inflation hit a record high of 7.8 percent in June as the dinar currency tanked, making food imports more expensive.