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Tue 30 Dec 2008 05:22 PM

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Telecom firms rally to cut cost of Palestine calls

Three operators in Gulf region offer cheap calls from Qatar, UAE to Gaza Strip.

Qatari and UAE telecom groups Qtel and Etisalat on Wednesday slashed calls to Palestine by 80 and 64 percent, the latest operators to cut its rates to the conflict-hit region.

Qtel said it will cut the cost of calls to Palestine made from a landline or mobile phone in Qatar from Jan 1. for a month. Etisalat's offer also starts on Jan 1. and is valid for a month for calls on landlines and mobiles from the UAE.

Adel Al Mutawa, executive director of communications at Qtel said: "Qtel makes this gesture of solidarity to ensure that people can maintain their connection with their friends and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Palestinian brothers and sisters at this time."

It comes just a day after Du, the second largest telecoms company in the UAE, announced a 50 percent discount. du's offer began on Tuesday. The company did not specify how long the deal would last.

Both deals are aimed at helping Palestinians in the UAE stay in touch with family and friends during the latest outbreak of fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Islamic militant group Hamas.

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