Hamas prepares for a climactic confrontation / Iraq’s election / Erdogan comes to the UK

By Billy

Good morning, here’s your Friday morning briefing to set you up for the day and weekend ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today and over the weekend.

Palestinian group Hamas prepares for a climactic Israel confrontation

The Palestinian militant group Hamas is gearing up for a climactic confrontation with Israel this weekend after weeks of protests at the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the Jewish state.

Palestinians have been demonstrating for weeks against US plans to formally move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv — set for Monday.

Since the demonstration began on 30 March, 47 people have been killed and nearly 7,000 wounded.

Meanwhile, Israel’s foreign minister has said his country’s forces had destroyed “nearly all” of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria, in dozens of airstrikes.

The strikes came after Israel reported an Iranian rocket attack on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights — and amid drastically ramped up tensions in the region after the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Iraqis head to the ballot box

Iraq’s election this weekend is shaping up as a three-way contest between Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, Nuri al-Maliki, a former prime minister, and Hadi al-Amiri, a former transportation minister.

The vote will mark a return to normality for the country and the first election to take place since the military defeat of Islamic State in Iraq in December 2017.

No matter who wins Iraq’s elections on Saturday, Iran is likely to maintain or even increase its sway over the country after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal this week.

Turkey’s Erdogan starts UK visit

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will begin a three-day UK visit on Sunday.

The trip will include high tea at an English country house and a meeting with the Queen.

Despite the controversy surrounding Erdogan, British-Turkish relations have grown closer in the past two years and the UK will want to cement the relationship ahead of its exit from the European Union in March next year.