Abbas undergoes heart tests

Procedure comes ahead of talks with Israeli PM and US secretary of state.

Condoleezza Rice with Mahmoud Abbas
Abbas, left, is due to meet Condoleezza Rice when she arrives in the region at the weekend [File: Reuters]
Abbas was due to return to the West Bank town of Ramallah on Friday, after having had the procedure which is used to check for blockages in the arteries, Abu Rudeina said.

Peace talks

Abbas and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, relaunched peace talks last November at a US-hosted conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Washington hopes a statehood deal can be reached by the end of the year.

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The two leaders are due to hold further talks on Saturday and Sunday with Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, who will be making her fourth visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories since the conference.

In Amman, Dr Abdullah al-Bashir, Abbas’s physician, said that he performed an angiogram as part of an annual medical checkup that also included blood tests.

Cardiac catheterisation is a diagnostic procedure in which a long thin tube called a catheter is placed in a blood vessel and then guided to the heart.

Abbas underwent a similar procedure in 2005, and had prostate surgery in the US in 2001.

‘Abduction link’ 

The Israeli military said that the Hamas commander killed in one of Thursday’s air raids was involved in the capture of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, in a cross-border raid in 2006. 

The Israelis “targeted and identified hitting Nafiz Mansur, a Hamas terror operative who was involved in terror attacks against Israel,” it said in a statement.

Rockets and mortars were fired into Israel
a Hamas commander was killed [AFP]

“Mansur was involved, among other attacks, in the capture of Gilad Shalit.”

The statement said that Mansur also bore responsibility for the killing of two Israeli soldiers in a July 2006 attack, and took part in setting up a suicide assault on a border post on April 19 this year.

The armed wing of Hamas said it would avenge Mansur’s death.

“The blood of our late commander will not be shed in vain,” it said in a statement. “We have the full right to respond in the time and place that we choose.”

Shalit remains in captivity in the Gaza Strip as talks have stalled on swapping him for hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Rocket attacks

Following the air strike at least eight rockets and three mortar rounds were fired into southern Israel, causing some damage but no casualties, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

In the second incident, three other Palestinian fighters and a civilian were killed by Israeli fire in the southern Gazan town of Khan Yunis.

The deaths came after several Palestinian factions agreed, in principle, to a ceasefire with Israel.

Hamas and 11 other groups agreed in Cairo on Wednesday to proposals that include a six-month truce, a prisoner exchange and reopening of the border between Gaza and Israel.

The truce, if implemented, will initially take effect in Gaza, with a view to being extended to the West Bank.

Israel has already rejected a similar plan from Hamas, describing it as a ploy for it to gain time to regroup.
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies