'Arab Idol' star wants to give back to Gaza.

AuthorDaraghmeh, Mohammed

Byline: Mohammed Daraghmeh

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Last year's feel-good winner of the TV singing contest 'Arab Idol' said Wednesday he wants to give back to Gaza, where he grew up, by setting up an arts center nurturing young musicians, writers and actors.

The center would be funded by Palestinian Americans who have pledged support, Mohammed Assaf, 24, said in an interview in the Gaza City office of The Associated Press.

He said he is waiting for a new Palestinian unity government to establish a foothold in Gaza before moving ahead. Until recently, the territory was ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas which has ceded some control.

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, residents of the crowded territory have...

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