Egyptian police shoot dead four on outskirts of Cairo

Egypt’s interior ministry said last night that its forces killed four people it said were fugitive terrorists plotting to carry out hostile operations. The men were killed after allegedly opening fire on security forces who approached them in Giza, on the southwestern edge of the Egyptian capital Cairo, where they were meeting to plan an attack, the ministry said in a statement, though this statement has been disputed. It identified one of them as Sameh Mohamed Farahat Abd El-Mageed, a 30-year-old leader of what it alleged was a “takfiri” group. Takfiri is a term for hardliners who see other Muslims as infidels, often as a justification for attacking them. Takfiris can be from any Muslim denomination that view others as […]

US in second day of airstrikes on Al-Qaeda in Yemen

The United States carried out a second day of airstrikes against Al-Qaeda in Yemen yesterday, US officials said, in the latest sign of increasing US military focus on a group whose strength has grown during Yemen’s civil war. Since a January commando raid that also killed children, the United States has shown a desire to both strike Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and to recover from what US officials acknowledge has been an intelligence shortfall about the group since Yemen’s civil war forced the closure of the US embassy in 2015. “We have a lot of gaps in our understanding of the organisation,” a US defence official said, adding the pullout of US personnel two years ago “certainly did […]

Assad regime: Talks agenda agreed, seeks united Syria opposition negotiating team

Syria’s chief negotiator said today that the “only thing” achieved at 10-day talks in Geneva was an agreed agenda and that the government wanted a unified opposition delegation as its negotiating partner. In his first remarks since talks ended yesterday, Syria’s ambassador to the UN Bashar Al-Ja’afari said the agenda agreed through UN mediator Staffan de Mistura gave equal weight to four subjects, including the government’s own priority of fighting terrorism. “Nothing has been adopted so far, there is nothing final at all except for the agreement on an agenda. This is the only final thing that we achieved in this round,” Al-Ja’afari told reporters in Geneva. Damascus sought a unified Syrian opposition, “not a Saudi partner nor a Qatari, […]

Palestinians from Syria live difficult life in Greek refugee camps

Hundreds of Palestinian refugees from Syria are living difficult lives in Greek refugee camps, an organisation calling itself the Task Group for the Palestinians in Syria said on Friday. In a report, the Task Group said that all the roads between Europe and Greece were closed and this stopped the movement of the Palestinian refugees from Syria, who have arrived in Greece, from moving out of the refugee camps. The Task Group said that the temporary refugee camps lack the basic humanitarian needs required by the refugees. One of the refugees, trapped in Greece, told the Task Group that in addition to the aforementioned issues, the refugees suffer from “heavy congestion inside the camps which host a number of refugees […]

Israeli court says no need to demolish homes of Jewish murderers

The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition by a family of Palestinians to demolish the homes of three Israeli Jewish murderers who murdered their son in 2014, Safa news agency reported on Friday. The Israeli court rejected the demolition of the murderers’ homes, claiming this would not be deterrent under the pretext that “terror is not common among the Jewish communities” at the same scale it is common among the Palestinians. Israeli news websites, according to Safa, reported that the Israeli Supreme Court said it would discuss the issue of demolishing “Jewish terrorists” homes in case such crimes had increased. Three Jewish settlers brutally murdered teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir from Jerusalem in July 2014. They kidnapped him, beat him […]

UN hails Syria talks despite lack of breakthrough

Syria’s first UN-led peace talks in almost a year ended yesterday without breakthrough but the United Nations mediator said the warring parties now had a clear agenda to pursue a political solution to the country’s six-year-long conflict. Both sides could point to small victories. The opposition said that the question of political transition was seriously addressed for the first time, while UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said counterterrorism – an issue pushed by President Bashar Al-Assad’s delegation – had been added to the agenda. “What I saw…gives me some feeling that we are moving in the right direction,” de Mistura told reporters at the end of eight days of talks, adding that he aimed to hold another round of indirect […]

Iranian politician sentenced to 3 months over criticising Revolutionary Guards

An Iranian court sentenced the cultural advisor of the reformist National Trust Party (NTP) to three months in jail after he had criticised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), AlKhaleej Online reported yesterday. Citing Iranian website Kalema, Alkhaleej Online reported that Shia cleric and politician Mohamed Nuri said in a recent speech that the Revolutionary Guards intervene in areas outside its jurisdiction. According to Turkish state-owned Anadolu, Kalema is a website known to be close to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011 for calling for reform in Iran. The NTP was established in 2005 by Mahdi Karroubi, who lost Iran’s 2009 presidential poll to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Anadolu said. He has also been under […]

Turkey’s ‘No’ campaigners gain German approval to hold rallies while ‘Yes’ camp snubbed

Germany has approved Deniz Baykal, former chairman of the main opposition Peoples’ Republican Party (CHP), to hold a referendum speech for the “No” campaign in a German town, only two days after cancelling rallies set to be attended by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci of the “Yes” camp. The German authorities in the southern German town of Gaggenau controversially withdrew permission on Thursday for an event organised months in advance, where Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag would have met with the Turkish community. Bozdag was expected to address the crowd about the upcoming referendum on 16 April for the proposed constitutional amendments in Turkey. A senior politician among the opposition, Deniz Baykal, is also scheduled to […]

PLO: Israeli doctors torture Palestinian prisoners

A Palestinian committee on Saturday accused Israeli doctors of torturing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. In a statement, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s committee on detainees claimed Israeli doctors working with prison and security services and in military camps tortured detainees and subjected them to psychological pressure. “The doctors systematically neglected the detainees’ health and did not abide by the ethics of the medical profession and international and humanitarian conventions,” it said. The panel claimed Israeli doctors had filed reports suggesting the prisoners’ ability to endure torture. “They also refrained from intervening to provide treatment for prisoners…and did not oppose bargain for treatment in exchange for confession,” it said. There was no comment from Israeli authorities on the committee’s claims. […]

Moroccan minister: Only 10% of entrepreneurs are female

Moroccan women only make up a “very modest” ten per cent of entrepreneurs in the country, a minister for women said today. Bassima Hakkaoui, minister of solidarity, women, family and social development, said: “The ministry wants to empower women in an area where they have seen modest influence, female entrepreneurs in Morocco are self-reliant and don’t enjoy what women in other fields benefit from.” She explained that “the field of entrepreneurship is a desert where men grow without women, until we reached a level we cannot be proud of.” “We have a security fund to support women’s entrepreneurship, which has provided 236 women with loans amounted to 81 million dirhams ($8 million).”