Arab foreign ministers on way to Gaza for solidarity visit

CAIRO Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:40am GMT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Foreign ministers from a group of Arab states and Turkey are on their way to Gaza to show their solidarity with the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave which is locked in a fresh round of hostilities with Israel, an Arab League source said on Tuesday.

The visit was planned at an emergency Arab League meeting in Cairo last Saturday, at which Arab ministers gave their backing to Egyptian efforts to try to secure a truce between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"The foreign ministers of Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Qatar, Lebanon, (and) Jordan along with the Turkish foreign minister left from Cairo to Al-Arish city (near Egypt's border with Gaza) from where they will cross the Egyptian Rafah crossing into Gaza," the Arab League source said.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said in an earlier news conference with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the ministerial delegation was "going to Gaza strip to express their full solidarity with the Palestinian people there".

Arab ministers have condemned the Israeli air offensive on Gaza that begun on Wednesday in response to what Israel said was an unacceptable barrage of rockets fired by Hamas into southern Israel.

Some 110 Palestinians have been killed, the majority of them civilians, including 27 children. Three Israelis were killed last week when a Gaza missile struck their house.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Ayman Samir; Writing by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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