Abbas to head to Gaza; purpose of visit unclear

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will head to the Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon in his first visit to the tumultuous region since a deadly outbreak of factional violence, Palestinian officials said. Abbas, who spends most of his time at his West Bank headquarters, was expected to arrive in Gaza about 3:00 p.m. The purpose of his visit was not immediately announced. Abbas' Fatah Party and Hamas waged deadly street battles earlier this month that killed 17 people, paralyzed much of Gaza and led to fears of a civil war. A shaky cease-fire agreed to last week has largely ended the violence.