middle east

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The story behind the Jerusalem attack: How Trump and Netanyahu pushed the Palestinians into a corner

Early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station in Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. The 39-year-old Jerusalemite was scheduled to hand himself over to serve a term of 4 months in jail for, allegedly, trumped up charges of ‘trying to hit an Israeli soldier’. Misbah is familiar with Israeli prisons, having been held there before on political charges, including an attempt to sneak into and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of a large compound known as Haram al-Sharif, which includes – aside from Al-Aqsa – the famed Dome of the Rock and other Palestinian Muslim sites, revered by Muslims everywhere. Al-Aqsa is believed to […]


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Report of plot to strip Qatar of World Cup was ‘fake’

A story claiming that six Arab nations had written to FIFA demanding that Qatar be stripped of the World Cup in 2022 was published on what appeared to be a fake version of a Swiss news website, the site’s co-founder said on Sunday. The report, carried on a website resembling The Local, included quotes purporting to be from FIFA President Gianni Infantino. It said that the six countries, which last month cut ties with Qatar, had collectively written to world soccer’s governing body asking it to remove Qatar as hosts under Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in the case of emergency. “The Local’s staff neither wrote, published nor removed the article in question and […]



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Washington Post: US intelligence confirms UAE planned Qatar fake news hack

US intelligence agencies have confirmed that The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites according to the Washington Post. The move, that occurred in late May, resulted in the posting of false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, and sparked the current crisis that has led to the isolation of Qatar by several of its neighbours. According to the Washington Post’s report, officials became aware that newly analyzed intelligence, gathered by US agencies, confirmed that on 23 May, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. The hacks were carried out the next day and shortly after President Trump’s counter terrorism summit with Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia. The UAE […]



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Iran says jails US dual national for 10 years for spying

An Iranian court has sentenced a US dual national to 10 years in jail on spying charges, Iran’s judiciary spokesman said on Sunday, the latest case involving dual citizens held on security charges in the country. The spokesman did not name the person or give any details about when the sentence was passed but said the person was a citizen of the United States and an unnamed country other than Iran. “This person, who was gathering information and was directly guided by America, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the sentence can be appealed,” spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on state television. Mizan, the Iranian judiciary’s official news site, later identified the American as Xiyue Wang, whom it […]


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Cairo police clash with Nile island residents, at least one dead, 56 injured

At least one person has been killed and dozens injured in clashes between police and residents of a Nile island in Cairo, when security forces attempted to demolish illegal buildings, the ministry of Interior said in a statement. The violence erupted when police arrived at al-Warraq island on Sunday morning to eradicate encroachments on state-owned land, the statement said. “The forces were surprised by demonstrations by some of the trespassers, who had assaulted the forces by firing birdshots and throwing stones … Which pushed the forces to fire teargas to disperse the protesters and to control the situation,” the statement added. At least 37 policemen and 19 residents were injured in the clashes, the statement said. Security forces withdrew from […]


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France’s Macron shares Israel’s concerns about Lebanon’s Hezbollah

France shares Israel’s concerns at the arming of Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, President Emmanuel Macron told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after their first formal meeting in Paris on Sunday. Tensions have risen between Hezbollah and its longtime foe Israel since Donald Trump became US president with his tough talk against Iran. The Iran-backed group’s rocket arsenal can hit any military target in the Jewish state, its chief said last month. “I share Israeli concerns on the arming of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon,” Macron told reporters on Sunday, alongside Netanyahu. “We seek Lebanon’s stability with due regard to all minorities,” he said. The French president reiterated that he would support any initiative seeking the resumption of negotiations of the peace […]


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Israel reopens Jerusalem’s Noble Sanctuary after deadly shooting

Israel reopened Jerusalem’s Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound on Sunday, drawing a protest by Muslim religious authorities over the installation of metal detectors at entrances two days after a deadly shooting. On Friday, three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen on the outskirts of the holy site, holy to Muslims and Jews, and were then killed by Israeli security forces. It was one of the most serious attacks in the area in years. Israeli authorities then closed the compound, citing security concerns, hours before Muslim Friday prayers. That move prompted anger among Muslim worshippers and was condemned by Palestinian religious and political leaders, Jordan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Two of the nine gates to the site, known to […]


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Defiant Erdogan attacks EU, promises to bring back death penalty

A defiant President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday stepped up his attack on the European Union, saying Turkey had to go its own way and vowing to bring back the death penalty if parliament passes it. Erdogan, who was at the opening ceremony for a memorial dedicated to the roughly 250 people who died during last year’s failed coup, accused Brussels of “messing about” with Turkey’s decades-long bid to join the bloc. The speech, in front of the presidential palace in Ankara in the early hours of Sunday, wound up a marathon session of public appearances by Erdogan in both the capital and Istanbul to mark the anniversary of last year’s failed coup. “The stance of the European Union is clear […]