New Palestinian PM Visits Gaza

People rush an injured person to a hospital after an explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009.
AP Photo/Mohammad Iqbal
The new Palestinian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday for the first time since his appointment, meeting leaders of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement as he works to form a Cabinet.

Fatah members declined to give details about their meeting with Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, but Abbas has been consulting with Palestinian leaders about the new Cabinet.

The visit came as violence erupted in the Askar refugee camp near the West Bank town of Nablus. Israeli troops shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian who had thrown stones at troops, witnesses said. The army said the teenager had thrown a homemade firebomb at troops.

In other West Bank towns, Palestinians demonstrated against the war in Iraq. About 1,000 people turned out for protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

One girl was injured in a rally involving dozens of young girls in Bethlehem but more details were not available. Israeli troops said they fired tear gas and stun grenades after youths threw stones at police. Television footage showed the girl covered in blood with what appeared to be a head wound.

About 50,000 Palestinians poured into the streets Friday, burning effigies of Western leaders and calling on Iraq to fire missiles at Israel.

The steady demonstrations could pose a challenge to Abbas as he struggles to win the confidence of the United States, which has backed a three-year "road map" to Palestinian statehood. President Bush said this week the plan would be unveiled once Abbas' nomination to the post is official.

Arafat appointed Abbas under pressure from home and abroad for reforms. Israel and the United States have refused to deal with the Palestinian leader, charging that he has not done enough to stop Palestinian violence.

Abbas faces the daunting task of trying to rein in militants, a condition set in the first phase of the road map. Hamas and Islamic Jihad — groups that have claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks that have killed hundreds of Israelis during nearly 30 months of fighting — are opposed to negotiations with Israel.

Representatives of both groups said they were not contacted by Abbas during his trip to Gaza and had no plans to meet with him.