NEWS

Last of Bethlehem 13 finds a home in exile

NICOSIA (AP) – The last of a group of 13 Palestinians exiled to Cyprus in May to end a monthlong Israeli siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was escorted on Monday to Mauritania after months of searching for a willing host. The Palestinian Authority’s intelligence chief in Bethlehem, Abdullah Daoud, 41, was sent to Mauritania because it was the only Arabic-speaking country willing to take him in, his wife, Kifah, said from her home in the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus. «I asked him, ‘Why Mauritania?’» she told The Associated Press. «He said, ‘I prefer to be in an Arabic country and this is the only option.’» Daoud was exiled to Cyprus with 12 other Palestinians under a deal worked out with the EU in what was meant to be a temporary arrangement to end the siege. The other exiles were granted shelter in EU countries.