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News Brief


Thousands of Hamas supporters protested in the Gaza Strip against President Bush’s visit to Israel and the West Bank.

Some waved posters showing the U.S. leader dressed as a vampire and drinking Muslim blood, and others waved green Hamas flags at Wednesday’s demonstrations. Protesters also set U.S. and Israeli flags on fire and burned effigies of Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“In his first words Bush talked about Israel, its security, its democracy and the right of America and Israel to defend themselves,” senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar told reporters at the rally, Reuters reported. “He did not talk about settlements or the assaults against our people.”

Bush in a news conference later said Israeli settlement outposts “have got to go.”

About 200 supporters of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction also protested in Gaza, calling on Bush to abandon his pro-Israel stance.

Meanwhile, Israeli Arab party representatives protested Bush’s visit, his alleged tilt toward Israel and his statements calling Israel a Jewish state.

Also on Wednesday, far-right activists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel were detained after protesting outside President Shimon Peres’ Jerusalem residence. Six other right-wing activists, including some teenagers, were arrested as well for hanging posters depicting Olmert and Peres wearing Arab headdress in areas of Jerusalem.

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