Tunisian foreign minister to visit Gaza on Saturday

TUNIS Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:00am EST

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TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's foreign minister will visit Gaza on Saturday as part of a delegation to offer support to Hamas and increase Arab pressure on Israel.

"An official Tunisian high-level delegation led by the minister of foreign affairs (Rafik Abdesslem) and the director of the presidential cabinet will go to Gaza tomorrow in confirmation of its initial position to provide all political support for Gaza," the spokesman for the Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki, said in a statement on Friday.

Egypt's prime minister, Hisham Kandil, visited Gaza on Friday to show support for the Palestinian people after two days of attacks by Israeli warplanes aimed at ending militant rocket fire at Israel.

The latest upsurge in a long-running conflict was triggered on Wednesday when Israel killed Hamas's military mastermind, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, in a precision air strike on his car. Israel then began shelling the coastal enclave from land, air and sea.

Mass protests in Tunisia lit the Arab Spring uprisings and forced former President Zine al-Abidine to flee the country last year. Tunisia's ruling coalition is led by the Islamic Ennahda Movement which won the country's first free election.

(Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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