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Gaza residents pray close to Israel, while Muslims make a big party



GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Gaza worshipers knelt on prayer mats on sandy ground, several near the perimeter fence with Israel, joined hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world to commemorate the holiday that closes the month of Ramadan.

The three-day Eid al-Fitr vacation is typically a time of family visits and festive meals, and the children receive new clothes, haircuts and gifts. In the Middle East, celebrations were marred by protracted conflicts in hot spots such as Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In the Gaza Strip, some worshipers performed the traditional morning prayers of the festival in areas several hundred meters (yards) away from the heavily guarded fence with Israel.

Friday prayers marked the continuation of the week-long protests against the blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and Egypt after the seizure of the territory in 2007 by the Islamic militant group Hamas. Since the end of March, more than 120 protesters were killed and more than 3,800 were injured by Israeli army fire in the area of ​​the fence.

Ismail Haniyeh, the top leader of Hamas, joined worshipers in an area east of Gaza City. At one point, while the faithful bowed their heads on their prayer mats in unison, a young man on crutches, presumably wounded in previous protests, followed the ritual while standing. Some activists later approached the fence, burning tires.

The organizers of the protest said they planned to launch a large number of comets and balloons with rags burning all day on Friday, hoping they would land in Israel and cause damage.

The protests have been organized by Hamas, but the participation has been driven by the growing desperation in Gaza due to the difficulties linked to the blockade; unemployment is now approaching 50 percent and electricity is turned on only a few hours every day.

Hamas has also called the protests the "Great Return March," suggesting that it would somehow pave the way for the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants – about two-thirds of Gaza's residents – to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled in the Middle East war for the creation of Israel in 1948.

Haniyeh told reporters He also said that a recent resolution of the UN General Assembly blaming to Israel for the violence in Gaza "shows that the marches of the return and the rupture", affirmed the last prayers, that also took place outdoors in another place to the east of the city of Khan Younis. the siege revived the Palestinian problem and placed the issue on the international agenda. "The resolution also said that Israel had used excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators [19] 659012] Israel says it is defending its territory and the civilians living near it. Gaza has accused Hamas of trying to use the protests as a cover to damage the fence and try to carry out cross-border attacks, Israel and Egypt argue that the blockade is necessary to contain Hamas, which has a history of violence and refuses to disarm.

In Jerusalem, Muslim cleric Muhammad Hussein told tens of thousands of faithful that a plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, which is expected to be revealed by the Trump administration, is unfair and "points to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. "

President Donald Trump promised to negotiate the" definitive agreement "but the parameters informed, although not confirmed, of the pl The supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who addressed the faithful on Friday, praised the citizens for coming to mass demonstrations last week in support of the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leader, Ali Khamenei, addressed the faithful on Friday. Day. That day was initiated by Iran in 1979 to express its support for the Palestinians and oppose Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a message from Eid al-Fitr that he believes the "land of Palestine will be returned to the owners of the land with the help of God."

Iran and Israel are bitter enemies.

In Syria, President Bashar Assad attended Eid prayers in the city of Tartous, part of an area that has remained loyal to him during seven years of civil war. The coastal region is home to the Alawite minority population of Syria, which has been the core of Assad's support. Assad, an Alawite, traces the origins of his family to Qardaha, a city in the nearby mountains.

It is believed that tens of thousands of men from the coastal region have died fighting for the president since 2011, according to Syrian monitoring groups. Assad now has control of Syria's largest cities and its coastal region.

In Afghanistan, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani promoted a three-day ceasefire with the Taliban, calling for a longer truce and urging the Taliban to negotiate a negotiating table.

The Taliban accepted the ceasefire but the leader Haibaitullah Akhunzada reiterated his demand for talks with the United States before sitting with the Afghan government.

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The Associated Press writer Karin Laub in Jericho, West Reports provided by the Bank.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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