ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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PA president cuts European trip short due to Gaza conflict

Mahmoud Abbas returns to West Bank in light of Israel’s Pillar of Defense operation

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah on October 13, 2012 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah on October 13, 2012 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian officials said President Mahmoud Abbas has cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the crisis surrounding Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat says Abbas canceled planned meetings in Switzerland on Thursday to rush back to the West Bank.

Abbas lost control of Gaza to Hamas militants in 2007 and now governs only the West Bank. Still, he claims to be president of all Palestinians.

Erekat harshly condemned Israel’s military operation, saying the Palestinians “hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of this act of aggression.”

Israel launched the operation — code named Pillar of Defense — on Wednesday in response to repeated rocket attacks from Gaza.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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