Middle-east

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3 police officers killed, 8 injured in shoot-out in Giza

Three police officers were killed and eight others injured in a shoot-out during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Giza, southwest of the Egyptian capital, two security sources said on Friday. The sources said authorities were following a lead to an apartment thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group which has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and policemen since last year. The suspected militants fled after the exchange of fire there, the sources said. Read: Egyptian security forces kill 10 suspected militants in Cairo Egypt accuses Hasm of being a militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this. A militant insurgency in the […]


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France’s Macron says Raqqa fall not end of battle against Daesh

President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France’s military would continue its fight against Daesh in Syria, but that the fall of the militant group’s bastion in Raqqa needed to lead to an inclusive political system to restore stability. “The battle against Daesh did not end with the fall of Raqqa and France will maintain its military effort as long as necessary,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “The challenges of stabilisation and reconstruction will not be less than those of the military campaign.” In a declaration formally announcing Raqqa’s liberation from Daesh after four months of battles, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Friday that Raqqa would be part of a decentralised federal Syria. France has supplied […]


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Turkey says Kurdish militant banner in Raqqa shows US sided with terrorists

Turkey said on Friday that a huge banner of jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan unfurled in central Raqqa by US-backed Kurdish forces would further harm already fraught relations between Ankara and Washington. The banner of Ocalan was raised on Thursday at a ceremony to mark Raqqa’s capture from Daesh in a campaign spearheaded by Kurdish Syrian YPG fighters, with military support from the United States. Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of Ocalan’s Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s southeast and is designated a terrorist organisation by the United States, European Union and Turkey. Ankara says that weapons supplied to fighters in Syria have ended up in PKK hands, threatening Turkish […]


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Lebanese court issues death sentence over 1982 Gemayel assassination

Lebanon’s top court on Friday sentenced Habib Shartouni to death for the 1982 assassination of president-elect Bashir Gemayel, an event that was a turning point in Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. Shartouni, a member of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party (SSNP), admitted his part in the bombing in the 1980s and was tried in absentia after escaping from prison in 1990 following eight years in detention. He was quoted in an interview in Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper on Thursday saying the timing of the trial was political and that he had lived in Syria between 1994 and 2004. He did not reveal his present location. Gemayel was killed less than a month after he was elected president and soon after he agreed […]


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Iraq increases oil exports from south to make up for Kirkuk shortfall

Iraq said on Saturday it was increasing oil exports from the southern Basra region by 200,000 barrels per day to make up for a shortfall from the northern Kirkuk fields. The output from Kirkuk fell this week when Iraqi forces took back control of oilfields from Kurdish fighters who had been there since 2014. The increase in Basra exports keeps Iraq’s total output within the quota agreed with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil ministry said in a statement citing Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi. He said 200,000 barrels per day would be shipped from Basra on top of the usual volumes exported daily of more than 3.2 milllion barrels. He said: These additional volumes will be […]


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Syrian army takes town from Daesh in Homs

The Syrian army and allied forces recaptured a town from Daesh on Saturday in central Homs province, where the militants have lost vast territory in recent months, state media said. Syrian troops regained control of al-Qaryatayn “after eliminating terrorist Daesh groups that had infiltrated it,” state TV. Earlier this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Daesh fighters had seized the town from government forces, part of a counter-attack by the militants who have come under intense pressure in eastern Syria. The Observatory said on Saturday that some militants had surrendered and others had withdrawn from the town after heavy fighting. The only Daesh presence in Homs was in a patch of desert in the east of the province, […]


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Saudi Arabia says oil market improving, agrees with Iraq on compliance with cutbacks

The global oil market is improving and stabilising, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said in Baghdad on Saturday. In a speech at the opening of the Baghdad International Exhibition, Falih praised the cooperation between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which he said had helped to boost global oil prices. Speaking later to reporters, he said Saudi Arabia and Iraq were in agreement on the need to “fully comply” with cutbacks in crude output agreed by OPEC, Russia and several other producers to push up prices. “The market has improved a lot but has still some way to go,” he said. Falih is the first Saudi official to make a public speech in Baghdad for several decades. Read: Russia calls to extend […]


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‘When the aggression stops, so will we’, say the Houthis

Khalil Dewan interviews Muhammed Al-Bukhaithi, Deputy Head of the Department of External Relations of Ansar Allah (otherwise known as the Houthis) and member of the Political Bureau. The Houthis are currently allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and have been in control of the capital Sana’a since 2014. As the battle lines settle on a stalemate after the inception of the Saudi-led coalition’s unforgiving bombing campaign, it’s about time all parties to the conflict think about a peace process, which must include the Houthi armed group. “We are ready to reach a peace agreement with the Saudi-led coalition”, Deputy Head of External Relations, Muhammed Al-Bukhaithi confirms to me. It’s of mutual interest for all parties in the conflict to […]