World Bulletin / News Desk
The leader of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement which rules Israel-besieged Gaza Strip, met new Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Thursday and hailed Mursi's election as the start of a "new era" for Egypt and the Palestinians.
It was Khaled Meshaal's first visit to Egypt since Mursi won the country's first free leadership vote.
The founding of Hamas was inspired by Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's oldest and most established Islamist movement - but the Palestinian group now operates independently because of its location and the battle against Israel.
Meshaal and Mursi discussed ways to ensure that Gaza, which borders Egypt, gets the gas and petroleum it needs due to Israeli siege into the territory.
"We have entered a new era in Palestine's relationship with Egypt, the big sister and the leader of the Arab nation," Meshaal said after the meeting. "We were happy with what we heard from President Mohamed Mursi and his vision to handle all these issues."
The talks lasted almost two hours, twice as long as Mursi's meeting a day earlier with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, Hamas's rival.
Hamas was isolated by Egypt under Mursi's ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak, and the West.
Mursi is under pressure to help ease the Gaza blockade. Palestinians accuse Egypt of being complicit in Israel blockade by closing its border with Gaza.
Egypt's army-backed government decided in February to let more fuel into Gaza and increase electricity supplies.
But Hamas has yet to see any sign of a policy shift since the election of Mursi.
Meshaal said Egypt's presidency and intelligence services would continue to shepherd a reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah that began last year.
"Egypt has a key role in this," he said, adding that Hamas "remains strategically committed to the reconciliation".
A bill desginating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization has been submitted to three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami said a lack of progress in negotiations was 'unacceptable' as talks between the island's leaders become marred by anger and argument.
"Hamas, relying on armed resistance, has emerged the victor in Gaza," Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah group, said in a speech in Beirut.
Israel's military said it would hold fire starting at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) but would continue searching for tunnels used by Palestinian fighters.
The U.N. chief also called for an extendable humanitarian 12-hour pause to mark the beginning of the seven-day ceasefire, to which both sides later responded positively.
Both Moscow and Kiev have accused the other of shooting across the border, and Ukraine says missiles shot from Russia may have downed two of its fighter jets this week
"The federal government has requisitioned the services of the Pakistan army in aid of civil power in Islamabad," the prime minister's office said
Clashes were also reported in Jerusalem after Israeli authorities barred Muslims from performing Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Police said the bomb was left in a vehicle about 50 metres from a hotel in the town of Betong, which is popular with tourists from nearby Malaysia
At least 3 hae been confirmed dead, 10 rescued and 8 missing after an overloaded vessel carrying illegal Indonesian workers capsized.
Israeli air force dropped about 3,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip in the first 15 days of the conflict, including 120 tons in the border town of Shejaia alone
Banned substances include gasoline and firecrackers, but also drinking water, cooking oil and yogurt.
Abbott said that Russian-backed rebels who control the area were tampering with evidence on "an industrial scale" and argued that outside police or possibly military forces were needed to ensure that did not continue.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks could be broken and Iraq could confront militants.
State media said "millions" of people joined the rallies nationwide, which were called to mark Iran's annual day of solidarity with Palestinians.
At least three women and a three-year-old child were among those killed.