GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Over a billion Muslims around the world began observing the holy month of Ramadan Wednesday.
This year's fasting in the Middle East is particularly tough as Muslims struggle through the long hot days of a sweltering summer.
In some areas, including Gaza, the difficulties are compounded by frequent power outages.
Ramadan's start is calculated based on the sighting of the new moon, which marks the beginning of the Muslim lunar month.
But that calculation is frequently an exercise in demonstrating a particular sect's or community's power in the conflicted region.
Most Sunni Muslims began fasting at dawn Wednesday, while Shiites in Iran, Iraq and Oman will start the fast Thursday.
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