New Qatari funds for Hamas employees expected this week: official

The funds will cover salaries of around 40,000 Hamas civil servants. Above, a Hamas police officer checks documents at the Rafah border crossing in Gaza. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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New Qatari funds for Hamas employees expected this week: official

  • The $15 million funds are expected to reach Gaza in the upcoming few days and be distributed immediately
  • The funds will cover salaries of around 40,000 Hamas civil servants

GAZA CITY: A fresh tranche of Qatari funds for Hamas civil servants in Gaza will be delivered via Israel this week, the Qatar ambassador to the Palestinian enclave said Monday.
Mohammed Al-Emadi is expected to bring the $15 million into the strip in the coming days, with funds to be distributed immediately.
“We are due to go to Gaza before the end of the week, most likely on Wednesday night,” Emadi told AFP by message from Doha. “We will pay the third payment,” he added, referring to two payments in previous months.
The funds pay the salaries of roughly 40,000 Hamas civil servants, as well as providing financial assistance to poor families in the empoverished strip.
They are injected with Israeli blessings after an informal truce deal between the Jewish state and the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Under the deal months of Hamas-backed protests along the border remain relatively quiet.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced right-wing criticism of the agreement, with his defense minister resigning in November accusing him of being soft on Hamas.
Separately Monday the World Health Organization warned it was “concerned” over the impact of critical fuel shortages in Gaza.
The strip suffers from chronic energy shortages, though the crisis had been eased in recent months with Qatar also allowed to import fuel to run Gaza’s sole power plant.
“The functionality of Gaza’s 14 public hospitals is increasingly jeopardized by electricity shortages,” the WHO said in a statement.
“Several of the most severely impacted hospitals have already put rationalization measures in place.
“Drastic service reductions, including closures of wards and hospitals, are imminent,” it added, saying hospitals had fuel reserves for only a few more days.


Egypt referendum extending El-Sisi rule to 2030 passes with 88 percent of vote

Updated 24 min 2 sec ago
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Egypt referendum extending El-Sisi rule to 2030 passes with 88 percent of vote

  • Turnout was 44.33% of eligible voters
  • Pro-government media, business people and lawmakers had pushed for a "Yes" vote

CAIRO: Egypt's election commission says voters have approved constitutional amendments allowing President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to remain in power until 2030.

Lasheen Ibrahim, the head of the commission, said on Tuesday the amendments were approved with 88.83% voting in favor. The turnout was 44.33% of eligible voters. The nationwide referendum took place over three days, from Saturday through to Monday to maximize turnout.

Pro-government media, business people and lawmakers had pushed for a "Yes" vote and a high turnout by offering incentives.

More to follow...