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Entries in Azzam al-Ahmad (2)


Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Prime Minister Threatens Resignation if New Cabinet Not Accepted

See also Syria Live Coverage: Assad Changes His Ministers Amid Economic Crisis
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Overnight Clashes In and Beyond Cairo

1900 GMT: Mali. French and Malian troops fought running gun battles with Islamist insurgents in northern town of Gao today.

The French-Malian force took the town earlier this month, as insurgents --- who had moved in last April --- withdrew.

Gunfire broke out in the area of the central market and police station, hours after French and Malian forces reinforced a checkpoint that had been attacked for the second time in two days by a suicide bomber.

French helicopter gunships flew overhead.

"Islamists who have infiltrated the town are trying to attack our positions, but we're fighting back," a Malian army officer said. Another Malian soldier said one group of rebel infiltrators had come in on motorbikes.

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Israel-Palestine Special: So What's the Deal Between Hamas and Fatah?

The rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas have reportedly reached an agreement, brokered by Egypt,  to end their rift and that between the West Bank and Gaza. 

The two sides have been in a series of talks in the last few years, climaxing when Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in 2009. Hamas had reservations, however, over the arrangement for security forces in the Gaza Strip and the lack of a guarantee that its victory in elections would be recognised. Hamas demanded further gestures before considering unity, such as a release of hundreds of it prisoners locked up in the West Bank, the re-opening of Hamas charities, and the removal of a ban on its activities in the West Bank.

So why an agreement now? 

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