Arab League to Hold Emergency Meeting Over IDF Strikes on Gaza

Meeting to be held Sunday following request of Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas; Abbas also calls for special UN Security Council session to discuss IAF airstrikes in Gaza.

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The Arab League will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss Israel Defense Forces air strikes on the Gaza Strip over the past two days, state media said Saturday.

"The Arab League received a request from the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Israeli aggression on Gaza," state television reported.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Arab League meeting in Doha, May 28, 2011. Credit: AFP

"The Arab League received a request from the Palestinian state ... and after negotiations it decided to host an urgent meeting on the level of the permanent representatives at 12 pm tomorrow," said Arab League spokesperson Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.

The 22-member organization will host the emergency meeting on the level of the permanent representatives.

Mahmoud Abbas also called Saturday for a special United Nations Security Council session to discuss the IDF airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which followed deadly attacks in southern Israel this week.

The Palestinian representative at the UN had been tasked with this demand, sources in Ramallah told the German Press Agency dpa.

Nabil Shaath, a senior member of Abbas' Fatah party, earlier called the air strikes on Gaza a "war crime."

After coordinated terror attacks that killed eight in southern Israel on Thursday, 30 Grad and Qassam rockets were fired throughout southern Israel on Friday, with rocket attacks continuing Saturday in areas near Be'er Sheva and in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

IAF strikes in the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning in reponse to the attacks left three dead, including a five-year-old boy, according to Palestinian sources.

At least four Palestinian militants were killed on Friday by two separate air strikes while attempting to launch rockets at Israel. Meanwhile, Israels Iron Dome system was able to intercept a rocket over the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel.

In response to the ongoing rocket fire, an IDF spokesperson stated that the military will not tolerate any attempt at harming Israeli civilians or soldiers, and will continue to act with determination and strength against any source of terror. The spokesperson also claimed that Hamas must be held responsible for the ongoing attacks.

Most of the rockets fell in open areas and did not cause damage or injuries, but one of the missiles hit a building in an Ashdod industrial park, wounding six people, one of them seriously.



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