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Abbas returning from Europe amid Gaza fighting

Nov. 15, 2012 4:12 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2012 9:58 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will cut short his trip to Europe to return to the West Bank amid Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, PLO official Saeb Erekat said Thursday.

Abbas has asked the Palestinian envoy to the UN to galvanize Arab states in order to halt the violence, which has killed 15 Palestinians and three Israelis in 24 hours.

Envoy Riyad Mansour has sent a letter to the UN Security Council asking for urgent action, Erekat added. The Security Council met briefly on Wednesday, but did not take any action.

Abbas has also pressed for an emergency Arab League session. The regional body is set to meet Saturday over the latest fighting, sparked by Israel's assassination of a top Hamas military leader in Gaza on Wednesday.

"We have a very grave situation in Gaza, we have situation deteriorating on the hour every hour and President Abbas now is in touch with His Excellency President Mursi of Egypt, Dr. Nabil al-Arabi of the Arab League, Ban Ki-moon ... and others in Europe and the United States, hoping to begin a process of de-escalation of the conflict," Erekat told reporters in the Swiss capital Berne, where Abbas met Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.
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