Palestinians protest in Gaza and Jerusalem, 1 killed

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Palestinian demonstrators take part in a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Gaza City February 22, 2019. (Reuters)
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Palestinian Muslims attend Friday prayers close to the Golden Gate near Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City February 22, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 22 February 2019
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Palestinians protest in Gaza and Jerusalem, 1 killed

  • The Health Ministry said 15-year-old Youssef Al-Dayya died at a hospital shortly after he was hit with a gunshot in the chest
  • The ministry added that 30 protesters were wounded by Israeli live fire in the weekly Gaza march

JERUSALEM: Israeli gunfire killed a Palestinian teenager at a protest along the Gaza-Israel border fence, Gaza officials said Friday, as thousands in contested Jerusalem descended on a section of a flashpoint holy site that has been closed by Israeli court order for over a decade.
The Health Ministry said 15-year-old Youssef Al-Dayya died at a hospital shortly after he was hit with a gunshot in the chest. The circumstances of his death were not immediately known, but it occurred when thousands of Palestinians participated in protests along several sections of the frontier, with dozens approaching the heavily guarded barrier.
The ministry added that 30 protesters were wounded by Israeli live fire in the weekly Gaza march.
The protests in Gaza are mostly against the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt imposed tight restrictions on movements of people and goods in and out of Gaza after Hamas wrested control of the territory in 2007.
Hamas has arranged weekly demonstrations since last March to protest the blockade and demand the return of Palestinian refugees to land in what is now Israel.
Close to 190 Palestinians, mostly unarmed, have been killed by Israeli fire in the protests, and one Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper last July.
Israel says it defends its frontier against breaches. Critics accuse Israel of employing excessive force against unarmed Palestinians.
In Jerusalem, the eastern part of which Palestinians claim as their future capital, protesters chanting "Allahu Akbar" streamed into a sealed-off area of Al-Aqsa Mosque during prayers Friday. Israeli police said the crowds that gathered dispersed peacefully after prayers.
Tension at the shrine has escalated in recent days. Similar protests turned into scuffles with police earlier this week. Anticipating unrest, police arrested 60 Palestinians overnight suspected of "causing disturbances" and "inciting violence."
Israel blocked off a structure near the mosque, known as the "Gate of Mercy," in 2003 because it was home to a heritage organization allegedly connected with a militant group. Israeli police accused the Waqf, the Islamic authority that oversees the compound, of attempting to "change the status quo" at the sensitive site by convening in the closed area last week.
The contested site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 


Sudan army rulers, protesters plan more talks after no agreement

Updated 5 min 57 sec ago
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Sudan army rulers, protesters plan more talks after no agreement

  • Both sides have been at loggerheads over the new governing body that would rule Sudan for a three-year transitional period
  • The latest discussions were launched Sunday evening following pressure from world powers to install a civilian-led governing body

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s army rulers and protest leaders said more talks were planned for Monday on finalizing the makeup of a new ruling body, after hours of negotiations through the night ended without agreement.
Both sides have been at loggerheads over the new governing body that would rule Sudan for a three-year transitional period after the ouster last month of longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir.
The latest discussions were launched Sunday evening following pressure from world powers to install a civilian-led governing body — a key demand of demonstrators.
After continuing into the early hours of Monday, the ruling military council announced the talks would resume at 9:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).
“The structure of the sovereign authority has been discussed,” Lt. Gen. Shamseddine Kabbashi, spokesman of the military council, told reporters.
“It’s agreed to resume negotiations today (Monday) evening... hoping to reach a final deal.”
The Sudanese Professional Association — the group that initially launched the protest campaign against Bashir in December, said Monday that it was in no rush to finalize the deal.
“We are not in a hurry for the crucial victory... whatever be the outcome, it will be a step forward,” it wrote on Twitter without elaborating.
The agreement had been expected on Wednesday, but the military council suspended the negotiations for 72 hours.

Ahead of Sunday’s talks, the umbrella protest movement — the Alliance for Freedom and Change — raised the ante by insisting that the country’s ruling body be “led by a civilian as its chairman and with a limited military representation.”
The existing military council is headed by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the generals insist that the overall new body be military-led.
On the eve of the talks, hundreds of supporters of Islamist movements rallied outside the presidential palace in Khartoum warning they would reject any deal that would exclude sharia — Islamic law — from the country’s political roadmap.
“The main reason for the mobilization is that the alliance is ignoring the application of sharia in its deal,” said Al-Tayieb Mustafa, who heads a coalition of about 20 Islamic groups.
“This is irresponsible and if that deal is done, it is going to open the door of hell for Sudan,” he told AFP.
Bashir came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989 and Sudanese legislation has since been underpinned by Islamic law.
The protest leaders have so far remained silent on whether sharia has a place in Sudan’s future, arguing that their main concern is installing a civilian administration.
Saudi Arabia meanwhile on Sunday deposited $250 million in Sudan’s central bank as part of an aid package it announced following Bashir’s ouster.
The UAE said on April 28 it would also deposit $250 million in Sudan’s central bank.
The oil-rich Gulf states have pledged a further $2.5 billion in aid to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products.

It was Sudan’s worsening economic crisis that triggered nationwide protests against Bashir.
Before talks were suspended earlier this week, the generals and protest leaders had agreed on several key issues, including a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two thirds of lawmakers to come from the protesters’ umbrella group.
But those talks were marred by violence after five protesters and an army major were shot dead near the ongoing sit-in outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum, where thousands have camped out for weeks.
Initially, the protesters gathered to demand Bashir resign — but they have stayed put, to pressure the generals into stepping aside.
The protesters had also erected roadblocks on some avenues in Khartoum to put further pressure on the generals during negotiations, but the military rulers demanded that they be removed.
Protesters duly took the roadblocks down in recent days — but they said they will put them back up, if the army fails to transfer power to a civilian administration.
The generals have allowed protesters to maintain their sit-in outside army headquarters.