Al Jazeera calls on Egypt to release its journalist

Al Jazeera News Network has called on the Egyptian authorities to release its journalist, Mahmoud Hussein, who had been arrested in Cairo on “fabricated charges”. In a statement released on Sunday the network said: “Al Jazeera deems all accusations against Hussein, including those which might be added later to the current allegations, to be a result of practices which violate international norms and conventions, and which, unfortunately, prevail in Egypt as exposed by human rights organisations”. The statement added: “Mahmoud Hussein works as a news producer at Al Jazeera, not a director of the correspondents’ department as the [Egyptian] statement claimed.” About how the journalist was arrested, Al Jazeera said: “He traveled to his country [Egypt] to spend his holiday […]

Iran to pay half price for 80 aircraft from Boeing

Iran has revealed that it is only going to pay half price for 80 new aircraft from America’s Boeing Corporation. Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan told Iran’s official news agency IRNA that the country will only pay half of the $16.6 billion cost of the deal because of reduced purchasing options. “Boeing has announced that its IranAir contract is worth $16.6 billion,” he explained. “However, considering the nature of our order and the available options, the purchase contract for 80 Boeing aircraft is worth about 50 per cent of that amount.” Meanwhile, on 22 December, Iran and Europe’s Airbus finalised a deal for 100 aircraft worth $18 billion. The contract includes single-aisle A320 and A330 jets and wide-body A350 […]

Israeli police search Arab parliamentarian’s office

Israeli police have searched an Arab parliamentarian’s office after he was stripped of his parliamentary immunity, Al-Risalah newspaper reported on Sunday. Basel Ghattas MK agreed to the move in order to allow a police investigation to proceed unhindered. He is accused of smuggling mobile phones and SIM cards to Palestinian prisoners inside Israel’s jails. A court extended his detention on Friday for four extra days. His parliamentary immunity has been removed temporarily until the investigation is completed, meaning that he can be arrested if the police decide that there is a case against him. Ghattas said in a written statement that he would face the investigations and accusations against him until the end. He insisted that he has not committed […]

Ethiopia says dialogue with Egypt the only way to resolve conflict over Nile dam

Ethiopia’s foreign minister said on Sunday that dialogue is the only way to resolve any problem that may arise with Egypt over the Renaissance Dam on the River Nile, Anadolu news agency has reported. “We believe in exchanging interests and benefits between the Nile Basin countries and we do not intend to harm any of those countries,” Dr Werkineh Gebeyehu told reporters in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. “Ethiopia has fertile soil and the Gulf countries — especially Qatar and the UAE — have the money and want to invest their money.” He reminded journalists of the historic relations between his country and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Gebeyehu arrived in Khartoum on Sunday for an official visit, during which […]

Syrian regime targets last medical clinic in Madaya

The Assad regime has targeted the last medical clinic in the besieged town of Madaya, the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported on Sunday. Pro-regime forces, including fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah, were involved in the assault. The network claims that barrel bombs, mortars and surface-to-surface rockets were fired from military checkpoints surrounding the town. According to the report, the offensive has destroyed a lot of Maday’s infrastructure and killed at least eight people, including three children and two civil defence personnel. In addition, at least 58 people have been wounded, including two civil defence workers; 36 of those injured are in a critical condition. Local residents in Madaya have said that the assault is “retaliation” against armed opposition groups which […]

Israel to spray pesticides along Gaza border

The Palestinian ministry of agriculture has warned local people that the Israeli occupation authorities are going to spray pesticides along the Gaza border between 25 December and 5 January. The ministry’s statement was reported by a number of media outlets. “This is an annual Israeli activity which takes place at the end of the year to get rid of unneeded grass in this farming strip along the border,” the General Director of the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza, Younis Al-Zaytouniyeh, told Quds Press. He noted that the Israeli pesticides have a negative effect on Palestinian crops. This sometimes causes huge losses for Palestinian farmers in the besieged territory. Last year, he explained, most of the crops near the border were […]

Airstrikes kill 13 militants in Egypt’s Sinai

At least 13 militants were killed in Egyptian airstrikes in the restive Sinai Peninsula late Sunday, according to a local security source. Apache helicopter gunships raided hideouts of alleged militants in southern Arish city in northern Sinai, the source said anonymously because he was unauthorized to speak to media. The attack injured 10 other militants and destroyed a number of motorbikes and vehicles used by the militants, the source said. Earlier Sunday, a roadside bomb killed a policeman and injured an army soldier in Arish. Since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi — Egypt’s first freely-elected president — was ousted in a military coup, hundreds of Egyptian security personnel deployed in Sinai have been killed amid an ongoing militant insurgency. The Egyptian […]

7 Iraqi troops killed in Mosul clashes

Seven Iraqi soldiers were killed in deadly clashes with Daesh militants in Mosul on Sunday amid a major offensive to recapture the northern city from the terrorist group. Daesh militants launched a car-bomb attack and engaged in clashes with Iraqi forces in Tamim district in eastern Mosul, army officer Mohanad Nour al-Din told Anadolu Agency. He said Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes, however, managed to thwart the attack. “Seven soldiers were killed and four others injured in the attack,” he said. No information was yet available about Daesh losses in the fighting. On Saturday, Iraqi forces resumed its offensive in Mosul – which began in late October – after a week-long hiatus. Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture […]

Hamas leader tells Israel to implement UN resolution

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has urged Israel to implement the recently-passed UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt in illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. Speaking at an event organised by the Turkey-based YediHilal (Seven Crescent) Association in Istanbul, Meshaal said Palestinians want their lands to be “completely free from occupiers”. “We want to take back our land in such a way that settlers are removed and there are no more settlements. We want to return to a Palestine where there are no invaders and enemies,” the Hamas political bureau chief said. His speech at the Halic Congress Center saw several pauses during which people from the crowd chanted pro-Palestine slogans and called on the Israeli government to revise its […]

Israel rebukes countries’ ambassadors over UN Security Council vote

Benjamin Netanyahu has summoned the ambassadors of all UN security council members which backed a resolution condemning Israeli settlements to “personally reprimand” them, Israeli foreign ministry announced on Sunday. The ministry added that the ambassador of the US was not among the envoys summoned. According to Israel’s official state radio Kol Yisrael, the ambassadors summoned on Sunday for the Israeli prime minister’s dressing down include all those from security council members with permanent missions in Israel: Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, France, Britain, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay and Spain. The United States abstained on the resolution, allowing it to pass, rather than vetoing it, as it usually does with resolutions it sees as overly critical of Israel, leading to US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro being summoned […]