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Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, May 22

Xinhua
23 May 2022, 08:05 GMT+10

SANAA -- Yemen's Houthi militia said they had sent representatives to Jordan's capital Amman on Sunday to attend a UN-sponsored negotiation over lifting the siege on Taiz city as part of the ongoing truce.

The delegation left the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa via a UN plane, Houthi-run al-Masirah TV reported.

The government-controlled Taiz has been under siege since the civil war erupted in Yemen in late 2014. Lifting the blockade on Taiz would facilitate the movement of citizens and allow humanitarian aid access.

Lifting the siege is the last major term to be fulfilled pursuant to the agreement reached by parties fighting in Yemen's civil war before entering a two-month UN-brokered ceasefire on April 2. (Yemen-Houthis-Truce)

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli court on Sunday sentenced six Palestinian prisoners to five more years in prison for tunneling out of their cell to escape a maximum-security prison in Israel in 2021.

The court found them guilty of "escaping custody" and fined each of them 5,000 shekels (about 1,490 U.S. dollars).

They were also sentenced to eight-month suspended sentences. The sentences will be added to the prison term they were already serving.

Five other inmates were convicted of assisting the six to escape and were sentenced to additional four years in prison.

The six, including Zakaria Zubeidi, a high-profile former commander of the Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade armed group, escaped the Gilboa Prison in northern Israel in September, 2021. (Israel-Palestine-Prison break)

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DAMASCUS -- Visiting UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said on Sunday that he discussed in Syria "the very serious social, economic and humanitarian challenges" facing its people.

The meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee slated for May 28 in Geneva was also touched upon during the visit, Pedersen told reporters after his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

In the upcoming Geneva meeting, 50 members of civil society, 50 members of the government, and 50 members of the opposition will gather together for a new round of talks as part of the UN-facilitated committee's job to propose an amendment or rewrite the constitution of Syria. (Syria-UN envoy-Visit)

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JERUSALEM -- Israel is approaching Qatar for direct flights between the two countries during the FIFA World Cup slated for later this year in Qatar, Hebrew-language Israel Hayom news website reported Sunday.

The decision, if implemented, would benefit about 15,000 Israeli citizens who plan to visit Qatar for the World Cup scheduled to be held from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, and strengthen ties between the two countries, Hayom quoted Israeli officials as saying.

The proposal is expected to be presented to the Qatari leadership in the coming days, it added. (Israel-Qatar-Flight)

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