Haniyeh to embark on tour of Arab countries

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was expected to head out on his first tour of Arab countries, including Israel's archenemies Syria and Iran, as part of a mission to garner support for the Hamas government, an official said Monday. Haniyeh has not left the Gaza Strip, where he lives, since taking office in March, when international sanctions sent the Palestinian Authority spiraling toward bankruptcy, making it largely impossible to pay its 165,000 civil servants. Haniyeh's three-week tour, to begin Tuesday in Egypt, will include stops in Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria and Iran, an official in his office said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The prime minister will tell Arab leaders about conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as give an update on the day-old cease-fire in Gaza and ongoing talks to establish a Palestinian unity government.