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Hamas suggests creating Palestinian army with its militants folded in

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) – The leader of Hamas suggested Saturday that the Islamic group could create a Palestinian army that would include its militant wing – responsible for scores of deadly attacks on Israelis – in the aftermath of its crushing victory in parliamentary elections. Israeli officials condemned the plan, demanding that Hamas renounce violence. Palestinian security officers, including loyalists from the defeated Fatah Party, said they would never submit to Hamas control. “Hamas has no power to meddle with the security forces,” said Jibril Rajoub, a Palestinian strongman. The Hamas chief, Khaled Mashaal, reiterated that Hamas would not recognize Israel. He also indicated attacks on Israeli civilians would continue, accusing Israel of targeting Palestinian civilians. “As long as we are under occupation then resistance is our right,” he said. Angry police stormed the parliament building in Gaza and armed militants marched into Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ compound in Ramallah to demonstrate their rejection of Hamas’ authority. Their defiance raised fears of a spike in violence between Palestinian factions. Clashes have already broken out between the two sides. Hamas gunmen wounded two policemen in Gaza early Saturday in what authorities said was a roadside ambush. The attack came hours after another firefight wounded a Hamas activist and two police officers, one of whom was in a coma Saturday. Hamas won 74 out of 132 seats in parliamentary elections Wednesday to Fatah’s 45. The militant group’s victory threw the fate of international aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority in doubt and darkened the chances for a peace deal with Israel. Speaking from his base in Damascus, Syria, Mashaal insisted his group would not disarm and said Hamas’ military wing, estimated at nearly 5,000 gunmen in Gaza alone, could be merged into a Palestinian army. “We are ready to unify the weapons of Palestinian factions, with Palestinian consensus, and form an army like any independent state,” he said. Israeli officials demanded that Hamas look for peaceful solutions to the conflict. “If Hamas wants to be considered a partner in peace, it’s very clear what it has to do. It has to renounce terrorism, disarm, accept Israel’s right to exist and support political solutions to issues rather than pursuing violent jihad,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. Mashaal also said Hamas would abide by existing agreements with the country “as long as it is in the interest of our people.” Israel and the Palestinians have a host of agreements dealing with everything from administration to peace frameworks. Mashaal did not say which agreements he was referring to. Israeli officials have said repeatedly that they would not deal with Hamas, and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel would not rule out targeted killings against Hamas leaders if they attack Israel. Israeli airstrikes in 2004 killed Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Abdel Aziz Rantisi. “Whoever stands at the head of a terror organization and continues to carry out terror attacks against Israel is not immune,” Mofaz told Israel’s Channel 2 television. Mahmoud Zahar, an incoming Hamas parliamentarian and one of the group’s top leaders in Gaza, told “CBS Evening News” that Hamas would be satisfied only if Israel withdrew from the land it has occpied since 1967, including Jerusalem. “Why not withdraw from West Bank and Jerusalem and to release our detainees and after that – after that everybody will look at how to continue the process,” he said. Hamas’ victory shocked Fatah, which dominated Palestinian politics for four decades. Abbas ordered an investigation into why his party lost so badly. Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Palestinian uprising leader who was Fatah’s top candidate and led efforts to reform the party, appealed for Fatah to hold a general conference to elect fresh leadership, according to a statement released by his wife, Fadwa. He also congratulated Hamas and said Fatah would peacefully transfer power. “We will respect the democratic process and its results and help those who won the confidence of our people,” he said. But many in the 58,000-member security force were less conciliatory and rejected any Hamas control. “The security institution is a red line. We will not allow anyone to tamper with it,” Gaza police chief Ala Hosni said. “It will remain a powerful and impartial arm that carries out the decisions of the presidency (Abbas) and that stops any infighting or civil war.” Dozens of armed police officers briefly stormed the parliament building in Gaza City, demanding the security forces remain in Fatah’s hands and calling for Hamas members who killed police in fighting in recent months to be brought to justice. In Ramallah, hundreds of Fatah activists, including gunmen and security officers, marched into Abbas’ compound and prayed at the grave of Yasser Arafat. “We came to you Abu Amar to forgive us for what happened,” they chanted, referring to Arafat by his nickname. Abbas’ security force prevented the activists from approaching his office. Militants outside the walled compound shot in the air. “We’ll show them hell as an opposition, and we will turn the Palestinian Authority security forces into armed militia led by Al Aqsa,” Ramzi Obeidi, a leader of the Fatah-allied Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, told the crowd. Other Fatah activists staged angry protests throughout the West Bank, including in Nablus. “We are now no longer part of the cease-fire,” an Al Aqsa gunman, Nasser Haras, told the crowd, referring to a year-old truce with Israel. In Tulkarem, gunman Ibrahim Khreisheh warned against cooperating with Hamas. “Whoever will participate in a government with Hamas, we will shoot him in the head,” he said. Abbas has said he would ask Hamas to form the next government and Hamas officials said they wanted to meet him Sunday. Hamas, with no experience in government, reached out to Fatah to form a coalition, but Fatah officials said they preferred to be in opposition. Outlining his group’s plan for the future, Mashaal said it would work to reform the corruption-riddled Palestinian Authority and continue its resistance to Israel. In a move likely to anger Israel, Mashaal said Hamas would release Ahmed Saadat, leader of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He is being held at a Palestinian jail under Western supervision for ordering the assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister in 2001. President Bush told “CBS Evening News” on Friday that the United States would cut aid to the Palestinian government unless Hamas, which the U.S. lists as a terror group, abolishes its militant wing and stops calling for Israel’s destruction. Speaking at the World Forum in Davos, Switzerland, former President Clinton suggested Saturday that the West should be more open to eventual talks with Hamas. “You’ve got to find a way to at least open doors … and I don’t see how we can do it without more contact,” he said. Hamas might “acquire a greater sense of responsibility, and as they do, we have to be willing to act on that.”last_img read more

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Wenger reveals two Arsenal stars to have fitness tests ahead of Saints clash

first_img1 Laurent Koscielny is a doubt for Arsenal’s trip to Southampton.The Gunners travel to the south coast on Wednesday as they look to keep their top four hopes alive.However, they may have to contend without Koscielny, who is currently struggling with a calf problem.“We have a real check up today but we have some worries for Koscielny that he may not be available tomorrow,” said Wenger on Tuesday.“He will have a test today and we’ll make the decision after training.“[Granit] Xhaka is similar but he looks to have recovered quite well. The news for him is better but he will have a test as well today.” Laurent Koscielny last_img read more

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Worldwide study to examine new treatments for IgA nephropathy

first_imgJun 28 2018A patient from Birmingham is the first person to be recruited into a new worldwide study to test new treatments for a potentially life-threatening kidney condition called IgA nephropathy. The research team responsible for this fantastic achievement is based in the John Walls Renal Unit at Leicester General Hospital.IgA nephropathy is an autoimmune disease that affects the fine filters of the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, these filters act like a sieve to clean the blood and enable the body to expel waste products it doesn’t need in the urine. However, in people with IgA nephropathy, a common antibody in the blood called IgA that helps us fight infection is for some reason deposited in the kidneys. This produces inflammation and scarring in the filters, which means they do not function at the same levels as would be expected in a healthy person.The new study is looking at the effectiveness and safety of a drug called LNP023, which blocks a process in the body that is known to cause inflammation and organ damage in people with autoimmune diseases such as IgA nephropathy.The first worldwide participant is John Watts (55) from Knowle, near Solihull in Birmingham. He was recruited on 6 February 2018.John said: “I was ill in 2012 with kidney trouble, which involved a number of tests and from these a diagnosis of IgA nephropathy was made. I thought I should read up on this illness and understand it. I was just doing as people do and went onto Google. I happened to find some notes put on by Professor Barratt saying we are looking for people to take part in trials. That was in 2013. We’ve been going steady ever since!”Professor Jonathan Barratt, honorary nephrology consultant at Leicester’s Hospitals and Mayer Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Leicester, is leading the study. He said: “We are delighted to have recruited the first patient into this important global study in Leicester. John is very knowledgeable about his condition and this is his third clinical trial with us. He’s like part of the team.”By leading this study we hope to establish whether the new drug reduces kidney inflammation and improves kidney function in patients with IgA nephropathy. We should also gain insights into what the correct dosage of the drug should be, how safe it is and how well patients tolerate it because we are trialling the drug at different doses, and indeed by using a placebo which contains none of the drug as a comparison.”Related StoriesOne-fifth of U.S. surgeons still ‘overusing’ riskier method to create kidney dialysis access, study findsNew imaging probe allows earlier detection of acute kidney failureScientists develop new class of drugs to treat hereditary kidney diseaseProfessor Jonathan Barratt leads the Mayer IgA Nephropathy Laboratories at the University of Leicester. In 2017, the University of Leicester received a gift of £2.7 million from philanthropist Jimmy Mayer to support his research group in further understanding the mechanisms that lead to the development and progression of IgA Nephropathy and to establish the world’s first international registry of IgA Nephropathy patients.Although not well known, IgA nephropathy is the most common form of fine filter kidney inflammation in the UK. It can affect anyone, although most diagnoses are in men during their teens and twenties, often following a bout of illness such as a chest infection. Many people affected by the condition first find out about it because they have passed blood in their urine and have made contact with a healthcare professional to investigate the matter. Sadly there is currently no cure, so treatment focuses on reducing blood pressure and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to limit kidney damage as much as possible. A significant number of affected people with the condition will end up on dialysis or need a kidney transplant.On being part of the clinical trial, John said: “I agreed to take part because they asked me, said I was suitable, said it was a new drug and they thought I’d be ideal to go on it if I wanted to. For me it’s a big privilege being involved in this. It’s for my benefit – our benefit – and for those who suffer from this disease. Why wouldn’t you be a part of it when it’s worth it?”At the present time John, who is an independent financial consultant, says he feels well and enjoys playing tennis, getting out in the garden and spending time with his family. Source:https://le.ac.uklast_img read more

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