Saudi Arabia crown prince meets President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunisia

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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in Tunisia, and was received by Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in Tunisia, and was received by Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in Tunisia, and was received by Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 28 November 2018
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Saudi Arabia crown prince meets President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunisia

  • Mohammed bin Salman says the Tunisian people have a special place in the hearts of the Saudi people
  • The visit is the fourth stop on the Crown Prince’s tour of Arab nations

TUNIS: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Tunisia on Tuesday where he was received by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

On arrival, Prince Mohammed said the Tunisian people have a special place in the hearts of the Saudi people.

“It is impossible that I embark on a tour in North Africa without touching down in Tunisia,” the crown prince told Al Arabiya News Channel. He said both countries would work together on boosting ties in the interests of their people.

The visit is the fourth stop on the Crown Prince’s tour of Arab nations, which has so far taken in Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt.

Prince Mohammed was greeted with a ceremonial reception and both the Saudi and  Tunisian national anthems were played and a  guard of honor inspected.

The crown prince was accompanied by the Tunisian president, in an official motorcade, to Carthage Presidential Palace where the two leaders held talks.

Prince Mohammed delivered greetings to Essebsi from King Salman. Talks were also held between the delegations from both countries on developing relations in various fields, and on regional and international issues.

Prince Mohammed also met Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

The crown prince’s delegation includes Prince Turki bin Mohammed, Advisor at the Royal Court, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, Minister of Interior, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel  Al-Jubeir.

The visit lasted several hours, before Prince Mohammed left the country. 

Prince Mohammad sent a cable of thanks to Essebsi.

“The results of our bilateral talks ensure the brotherly relations between our countries, and  the joint desire to deepen cooperation between the two countries in various fields,” the cable said.


Tense calm in Gaza after Israel, Hamas exchange heavy fire

Updated 56 min 1 sec ago
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Tense calm in Gaza after Israel, Hamas exchange heavy fire

  • Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel in what threatened to devolve into a major conflict
  • The Israeli air force pounded militant sites of Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the smaller Islamic Jihad group

JERUSALEM: A tense quiet took hold on Tuesday morning after a night of heavy fire as Israeli aircraft bombed targets across the Gaza Strip and Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel in what threatened to devolve into a major conflict, just two weeks before the Israeli election.
Schools in southern Israel were canceled for the day and the military imposed restrictions on public gatherings near the Gaza border, after dozens of rockets were fired toward communities in the area, including one that struck a house in the town of Sderot.
The Israeli air force pounded militant sites of Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the smaller Islamic Jihad group. The targets included a multistory building in Gaza City that Israel said had served as a Hamas military intelligence headquarters and the office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Gaza’s Health Ministry said seven Palestinians were wounded in the airstrikes.
The cross-border fighting was triggered by a surprise rocket fired early Monday from Gaza that slammed into a house in central Israel and wounded seven people.
The Israeli military said it was a self-manufactured rocket with a range of 120 kilometers (75 miles), making it one of the deepest strikes ever carried out by Hamas. The military mobilized two armor and infantry brigades and drafted some reserve forces before striking back at militant sites in Gaza.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers announced later in the day that Egyptian mediators had brokered a cease-fire but the firing continued overnight before calm appeared to return early Tuesday.
Monday’s rocket attack prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a visit to Washington and return home. He promised a tough response, setting the stage for perhaps the most serious conflict since a war in 2014. But with no fatalities reported on either side yet, and the quiet holding for the moment, it still seemed possible to step back from the brink once again.
Two weeks ago, rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel’s densely populated commercial capital of Tel Aviv, and the Israeli military struck back. Gaza’s Hamas leaders said the rocket was fired accidentally and the fighting quickly subsided.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the last decade. Although neither side appears to have an interest in another war, fighting could easily spin out of control. The 2014 conflict lasted 50 days and ended with over 2,000 Palestinian deaths, including hundreds of civilians, and 73 killed on the Israeli side.
Netanyahu is scheduled to land later Tuesday and head directly to consultations at military headquarters in Tel Aviv. He faces the difficult task of delivering a tough blow to Hamas while avoiding protracted fighting that could work against him on election day.
Netanyahu came under heavy criticism from allies and opponents for what they say has been an ineffective policy containing Gaza militants. He has conducted indirect cease-fire talks through Egyptian mediators in recent months, and even allowed the delivery of millions of dollars of Qatari aid to Hamas to ease harsh conditions in Gaza.
Hamas is facing perhaps its toughest domestic test since seizing control of Gaza from the rival Palestinian Authority 12 years ago.
An Israel-Egyptian blockade, imposed to weaken Hamas, combined with sanctions by the Palestinian Authority and mismanagement by the Hamas government, have all fueled an economic crisis that has left Gaza with an unemployment rate above 50 percent.
Hamas has been leading weekly protests along the Israeli border for the past year in hopes of easing the blockade, but the demonstrations, in which some 190 people have been killed by Israeli fire, have done little to improve conditions.
Last week, hundreds of Gazans protested the dire conditions, a rare expression of public discontent against the authoritarian government. Hamas responded with a violent crackdown, beating and arresting dozens of demonstrators and drawing rare public criticism.