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BLEAK RAMADAN FOR IRAQ PALESTINIANS Iraq was facing its bleakest Ramadan for a decade under the threat of war over its alleged weapons of mass destruction and enduring the strain of 12 years of UN sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait triggered the Gulf War news - web sites in 1991 Iraq used to be relatively rich thanks to its oil Breaking each days fast after sunset would be celebrated with a feast of beef chicken or fish and all kinds of delicacies But now Iraqis subsist on monthly rations of rice beans lentils peas sugar flour tea and milk provided by the government under a United Nations news - web sites oil-for-food program We were living in luxury We were spoiled for choice of food and delicacies in Ramadan said mother of five Zahra Abdallah at her home in Baghdads poor al-Fadl district Now all this has become a fantasy We live with the memory of those days Nouriya Mohammed 45 said her builder husbands salary of 40000 dinars 20 a month was not enough for food for them and their five children let alone for rent and electricity Ramadan has become torture In the Gaza Strip news - web sites Palestinians and the West Bank were suffering their worst economic conditions in decades due to Israeli blockades imposed over the more than two years of a Palestinian uprising In Gaza store owners and market sellers packed shelves with food dates and sweets but complained of a lack of customers Shop-owner Mohammad Hassouna told Reuters People are buying the most needed stuff like cheese and eggs but many avoid looking at sweets or other products God help the people Israeli closures have destroyed peoples daily life and made men jobless In Cairo waves of worshippers headed to pray
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