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Rival of Palestinian president promises Russian vaccine for Gaza

GAZA CITY, West Bank (AP) – The United Arab Emirates has pledged to send 20,000 doses of the Russian coronavirus vaccine to the Gaza Strip, a rival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday, a move that could have implications for the next few. parliamentary elections.

Mohammed Dahlan made the announcement a day after the Abbas government distributed 2,000 vaccines in Gaza and appeared to aim in part to embarrass the Palestinian president.

Dahlan called the shipment a « generous donation » from the UAE « at a delicate time when the pandemic is attacking our loved ones. » A Dahlan aide said Sputnik V vaccines will reach Gaza through Egypt on Sunday.

Dahlan, a former senior member of Abbas’s Fatah Party, has lived in exile in Abu Dhabi since he broke relations with the Palestinian president in 2011. He was subsequently sentenced in absentia to three years in prison for an alleged misuse of public funds.

The parliamentary elections next May will face Fatah and the militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza. Abbas has prevented Dahlan from running in the elections, which would be the first Palestinian electoral process in 15 years. But Dahlan’s allies, operating as a Fatah splinter group called the Democratic Reform Bloc, plan to run in elections and could become the power group.

Dahlan became a staunch rival of Hamas when he served as the Palestinian security chief in Gaza.