Palestinian Authority seeks urgent Arab League summit

CAIRO Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:05am IST

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

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CAIRO (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority has asked for an urgent Arab League summit to discuss Israeli attacks on Gaza, the League said on Sunday.

The authority is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose secular Fatah movement was driven out of Gaza five years ago by Islamist movement Hamas which now controls the Gaza Strip.

Abbas, who is based in the West Bank, has been accused by some Palestinians of not reacting energetically enough to the Israeli air strikes against Gaza.

On Saturday, Arab foreign ministers condemned the Israeli offensive on Gaza and expressed "complete discontent" at the U.N. Security Council's failure to bring about a ceasefire.

The Arab League was discussing with its members the Palesinian request, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.

Seventy-two Palestinians, 21 of them children and several women have been killed in Gaza since Israel's offensive began. Rockets fired from Gaza killed three civilians and wounded dozens.

The head of the Arab League and a group of Arab foreign ministers will visit Gaza on Tuesday to show solidarity with Palestinians.

During an emergency meeting on Saturday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki asked the Arab League for an urgent summit and for "indefinite financial support" from Arab states.

Arab ministers backed Egyptian-led efforts to mediate a truce between Palestinians and Israelis which are yet to show results.

Israel's declared goal is to deplete Gaza arsenals and force Hamas to stop rocket fire that has bedevilled Israeli border towns for years and is now displaying greater range, putting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the crosshairs.

The Israeli military said 544 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel since Wednesday, killing three civilians and wounding dozens. Some 302 were intercepted and 99 failed to reach Israel and landed inside the Gaza Strip

(Reporting By Ayman Samir; Writing by Tamim Elyan; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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