Monday, October 28, 2013


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister faced a political uproar from across the political spectrum on Monday over the planned release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, all according to authorities convicted on murder charges connected to deadly attacks on Israelis.
Tuesday's release is part of a U.S.-brokered agreement that restarted peace talks with the Palestinians over the summer. It is the second of four planned releases of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in the coming months.
The overnight announcement of the prisoner names triggered a storm of criticism. Among those going free are people jailed in connection to the killings of Israelis including a reservist and a Nazi death camp survivor, according to the list provided by Israel's prison service. Many of the killings occurred before the beginning of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in 1993.
Israel has a long history of lopsided prisoner exchanges with its Arab adversaries. But this week's release appeared especially charged because Israel is receiving little in return except for the opportunity to conduct negotiations that few people believe will be successful.
"The release of terrorists is immoral, weakens Israel, endangers Israeli citizens," Naftali Bennett, leader of the hardline Jewish Home Party, wrote on his Facebook page. "Israel has humiliated itself for the last 20 years with terrorist release deals, and it is time to put an end to it."
Pini Rosenberg, whose father, a survivor of the Sobibor Nazi death camp, was killed in a 1994 ax attack, said government ministers did not consider the emotional toll on bereaved families. A man convicted in the killing was among those set to be released Tuesday.
"They look at these murderers as a bargaining chip that they will one day spend. If they started involving emotions, they wouldn't be able to do it," he told Army Radio.
Critics, including dovish members of his coalition, said Netanyahu could have avoided the release if he had accepted Palestinian calls to stop construction of West Bank settlements or base negotiations over the borders of a future Palestinian state on Israel's pre-1967 lines. The Palestinians claim the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, captured by Israel in 1967, for their future state.
"Netanyahu preferred in clear conscience, and out of fear from his political allies, releasing prisoners instead of freezing isolated settlements," said opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich. "It is also hard to digest and unconscionable, especially hurtful to the families of the murdered."
Netanyahu has already said he will announce new settlement plans, apparently to make up for the release. Addressing members of his Likud Party on Monday, he called the release one of the toughest decisions he has had to make.
"This is due to the injustice that these evil doers are being freed without completing their sentence. My heart is with the bereaved families and the heart hurts," he said.
The news was greeted with joy in the Palestinian territories, where prisoners are seen as heroes waging a national liberation struggle against Israeli occupation. In Gaza and the West Bank, families sang, displayed pictures of their loved ones and played music. Israel plans on freeing the men late at night to avoid public celebrations.
"Thank God that I'm still alive," said Amouneh Abed Rabo, a woman in a wheelchair whose son Issa was arrested in 1984 for allegedly killing two Israelis. "My son will be released and I will be able to hug him," she added.


CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's top prosecutor has ordered an investigation into a complaint that alleges satirist Bassem Youssef, known as the country's Jon Stewart, harmed national interests by ridiculing the country's military.
Monday's decision by chief prosecutor Hesham Barakat, announced in a statement by his office, could be a prelude to further action against Youssef such as questioning and a possible trial.
Several complaints were filed against Youssef after he mocked the pro-military fervor gripping Egypt in his first program of the season last week. Youssef also took jabs at military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, lionized in the local media as a hero after leading a July 3 coup that ousted the Islamist president.
Making matters worse, the private TV station that airs the program sought to distance itself from the comedian.

Watchdog: inspectors can’t access two Syria chemical sites

Al Arabiya
International inspectors are not able to visit two remaining chemical weapons sites because of the security situation in the war-torn Syria, the global watchdog said Monday.
Inspectors had by Sunday visited 21 of 23 chemical sites, but “the two remaining sites have not been visited due to security reasons,” Agence France-Presse quoted The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as saying in a statement.

Efforts by the joint OPCW-United Nations mission charged with destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal by mid-2014 “to ensure the conditions necessary for safe access to those sites will continue,” said the OPCW.
Syria has submitted a formal declaration of its chemical weapons program ahead of an October 27 deadline, together with a general plan of destruction.
Inspectors, who are on the unprecedented mission in a war zone, were supposed to have visited all sites declared by Syria by the same deadline of Sunday.

The sites declared by Damascus are part of its poison gas and nerve agent program.
Meanwhile, the mission didn’t clarify who was responsible for the security problem, but that negotiations “to ensure the conditions necessary for safe access” to the two remaining sites will continue.
(With AFP and Associated Press)

Three policemen shot dead in Egypt

AFP, Cairo
Gunmen on Monday killed three policemen in Egypt, where attacks against security forces have been on the rise in the face of a bloody crackdown against Islamists, security officials said.

The assailants opened fire on the policemen who were posted near the University of Mansura in Egypt's Nile Delta region, before fleeing, one source said.

Since the army's ouster of the country's first freely elected president, Islamist Mohammad Mursi, near-daily attacks targeting security forces have left dozens dead, particularly in the lawless Sinai peninsula.

The interim government installed by the army accuses pro-Mursi Islamist groups of being behind the attacks.

Jihadist movements have claimed many of the attacks, slamming what they call a brutal military coup and have demanded Mursi’s return to power.

Since August 14, when policemen and soldiers killed hundreds of pro-Mursi demonstrators in Cairo as they dispersed two huge protest camps, over 1,000 have died in the crackdown.

More than 2,000 members and supporters of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood have also been arrested since August, including Mursi and its top leadership, who will face trial for inciting the killing of protesters.

Tunisia’s Ennahda will give up government but not power, says party leader

Rached Ghannouchi, chairman of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party said on Sunday that his party may be willing to give up the government but not power, in a televised interview with state channel al-Wataniya 1.
The party leader said that Ennahda will remain in power through the constituent assembly and the upcoming government.
The Tunisian opposition demands that the country’s Ennahda-led government commit to resign from power within three weeks of the start of talks, in order to make way for an interim cabinet.
Talks are scheduled over the next three weeks in the country to decide on a caretaker government and set a date for elections.
Ghannouchi warned against the delays in the political roadmap, adding that his government will resign in three weeks and the constituent assembly will finish its tasks in four weeks.
“[Tunisia’s] situation can no longer bear the prolonging of finishing the constitution. The cabinet and the deputies must fulfill their promises,” Ghannouchi was quoted as saying to Al Wataniya 1 channel.
The Islamist-party leader has also defended radical Muslim Salafists in his interview.
“Salafists are Tunisia’s sons just like communists and liberals are. We must not [launch] a war against this group and we must not eliminate it from society,” he said, adding that the rejected resorting to violence as a means to impose one’s opinions.
Tunisia’s democratic transition has effectively been choked by disputes between the Islamist-led coalition and the opposition, nearly three years after President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown.
Ghannouchi said in his interview that democracy is not about eliminating opponents but about resolving disputes in a civil and peaceful manner.
“The current phase is not one of struggle or mobilization. The ship must carry all Tunisians, whether Islamists or not, to safety.” 

Main Syrian rebel groups declare opposition to Geneva peace talks

About 22 mostly Islamist brigades have signed a statement saying that they will not participate in Geneva II as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is staying in power. (Reuters
Main Syrian rebel brigades have announced their opposition to an international peace conference on Syria if it does not result in President Bashar al-Assad’s removal, piling pressure on the political opposition not to attend.

“Any solution will be totally rejected if it does not end Assad’s rule with all of its military and security pillars and if it does not hold accountable all those who took part in the state terrorism,” said the statement, dated Saturday and signed by some of the most formidable Islamist units fighting Assad.

“We consider attending Geneva 2 on any basis other than that mentioned above...treason that requires trials by our courts,” it said, referring to the proposed peace conference.

The declaration was signed by 22 mostly Islamist brigades, including Suqour al-Sham, al-Tawhid and Ahfad al-Rasul, which are seen as backed by Qatar, as well as Ahrar al-Sham Brigade, a major rebel force in eastern Syria, and the smaller al-Sahaba Brigades, which operates around Damascus.

Several officials, including Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby, have said they expect the conference to convene on Nov. 23 in Geneva, though the United States, Russia and the United Nations have all said no date has been officially set.

This week, the Syrian National Coalition resisted calls from Western and Arab countries to commit to attending the peace talks, saying they would not take part if there was any chance that Assad could cling to power.

The coalition is due to meet on Nov. 9 to discuss taking a detailed position on Geneva, according to opposition sources.

Tunnel closure costs Gaza $230 million monthly

AFP, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories
Egypt’s closure of tunnels used to smuggle goods into the Gaza strip has caused monthly losses of $230 million (170 million euros) to its economy, a Hamas official said Sunday.
The “closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors” of around $230 million monthly, said Hatem Oweida, deputy economy minister for the Islamist movement Hamas that governs the strip.
Essential materials were for years smuggled from Egypt into Gaza through tunnels, bypassing Israel’s blockade, but the Egyptian army recently destroyed many of those after ousting president Mohammad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Hamas ally.
Oweida said that the coastal Palestinian territory had relied on the tunnels to meet at least 40 percent of its construction supplies and raw material needs.
Gaza’s unemployment rate would hit 43 percent if official border crossings remained shut and the tunnels were destroyed, Oweida warned.
He added that “public revenues saw a decline after the closure of the tunnels and the tightening of the siege in the second half of 2013,” which he said would hit Hamas’ employment and temporary work programs.
Israel first imposed its land, sea and air blockade on the coastal strip in 2006 after militants there seized an Israeli soldier.
It was further tightened in mid-2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza.

Gulf stability crucial for Egypt’s national security, says PM

Egyptian interim Prime Minister Hazim al-Beblawi likened violations on the security of Gulf states to harm against his country’s national security during his second-day visit to the UAE on Sunday.
Beblawi’s statement came after a deal signed with the UAE on Saturday for $1.9 billion in new loans, fuel supplies and other assistance.
He said Egypt will benefit from the UAE’s experience in boosting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Egypt and the UAE will delve into “all the opportunities that will benefit cooperation between the two countries,” he added.
“Our relationship with the UAE doesn’t only stop at the two governments collaborating but will also include the private sector,” he said, adding “the UAE has the second largest [amount of] Arab investments in Egypt, and we are ready to take notes and reduce obstacles faced by investors.”
Following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of President Mohammad Mursi in July, the UAE promised $3 billion in aid as part of the overall $12 billion aid package from Gulf states.
Meanwhile, Beblawi said Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement’s brief rule in Egypt tarnished the country’s image and its own. 

The official UAE news agency WAM said the new pact with Egypt provides a framework for aid to the country and could open the door for more assistance.

Militant group: Egyptian ex-army officer was suicide bomber

The video posted on militant websites shows a man identified as Waleed Badr, who wears a major’s uniform. He says in the video that the Egyptian army is “bent on fighting religion” and “loves America” more than Egyptians.(Al Arabiya) 
Associated Press, Cairo
An ex-Egyptian army officer carried out the suicide bombing last month that unsuccessfully targeted the country’s interior minister, a video posted online Saturday by al-Qaeda-inspired militants claims.

Military officials reached by The Associated Press declined to comment on the video posted in the name of the Ansar Jerusalem militant group, which has carried out other attacks in the country’s lawless Sinai Peninsula. But it comes as security officials already sacked one police officer over alleged ties with Islamists as turmoil persists over the country’s July 3 military coup.

The video posted on militant websites shows a man identified as Waleed Badr, who wears a major’s uniform. He says in the video that the Egyptian army is “bent on fighting religion” and “loves America” more than Egyptians. 

An unnamed narrator says officials fired Badr, who graduated from a military academy in 1991, from the army because he used to criticize officers for not being pious. The narrator says Badr also fought with militants in Afghanistan and Syria, but failed to get to Iraq after being arrested in Iran and held for a year in prison. The narrator gives no dates for these events and the AP could not immediately trace Badr’s whereabouts for this time.

The video also shows a car in streets described as being close to the home of Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim in Cairo. It shows the minister’s motorcade and provided a description of his armored SUV. The video does not explain, however, why the bombing failed to kill Ibrahim. The blast Sept. 5 killed one person and injured 22 others.

Ansar Jerusalem already claimed responsibility for last week’s bomb attack on a military intelligence compound in the Suez canal city of Ismailia and for a suicide car bomb attack on a security headquarters in the town of el-Tor, in southern Sinai on Oct. 7. Earlier, the group claimed attacks on gas pipelines to Israel, rockets targeting Israel and a 2012 shootout along the Israeli-Egyptian border in which three militants and an Israeli soldier were killed.

Attacks in the Sinai and elsewhere have risen following the July 3 military coup that overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Since then, supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood have staged near-daily rallies around the country, protesting security crackdown in which hundreds have been killed and more than 2,000 of group’s members have been jailed. Morsi has been held incommunicado since his ousting and a court has ordered an outright ban on his group.

Authorities appear to have expanded the scope of their crackdown. A police officer was suspended from his duties in the Nile province of Gharbiya, north of Cairo, because he was suspected of being a Brotherhood member, security officials said Friday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.

The decision could signal that the military-backed leadership will purge Brotherhood members from the security forces, a move that could deepen tensions. Morsi supporters and those backing the military already accuse each other using violence to advance their causes.

In the video, however, Badr also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim groups for believing in democracy and repeated al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri’s ideology that establishing Islamic Shariah laws could only be achieved through jihad.

He urged Egyptian Muslims “to sacrifice your lives through the explosive devices and the explosive belts and to kill in the same way they kill.”


CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian kung fu gold medalist has been suspended by the sport's national federation because he displayed an Islamist symbol showing support for ousted President Mohammed Morsi during a tournament in Russia, officials said Monday.
The online service of the state newspaper Al-Ahram posted a photo of Mohammed Youssef wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of an open palm with four yellow fingers — the symbol representing a pro-Morsi protest camp violently cleared by security forces in August. In the photo, Youssef held his gold medal with his right hand while punching the air with a clenched left fist during the medal ceremony.
It quoted the federation president as saying Youssef also would be banned from a tournament next month in Malaysia.
Youssef flew to Cairo early on Monday from Moscow after being sent home early by the federation, security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. The player's brother Hamam confirmed in a telephone interview with Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr that his brother was sent home early from the tournament because he displayed the symbol.
The suspension underlines the deepening divisions in Egypt, nearly four months after Morsi — the country's first freely elected president — was ousted in a popularly backed military coup. His ouster followed protests by millions of Egyptians calling on him to step down and accusing him and his Muslim Brotherhood of acting undemocratically and trying to monopolize power in the latest crisis to roil the Arab world's most populous nation since the 2011 ouster of autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak.
More than 600 protesters were killed when Egyptian police moved in with armored bulldozers to clear the massive sit-in demanding the reinstatement of the Islamist leader near Cairo's Rabaah el-Adawiya mosque. Tensions have spiked as the military-backed interim administration continued to crack down on the Brotherhood, arresting more than 2,000 senior and mid-level officials.
Islamic militants also have stepped up their campaign of violence, mainly targeting Egyptian police and soldiers since the coup, especially in the volatile northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The militants' campaign mostly has been confined to the troubled peninsula that is separated from the mainland by the Suez Canal, but attacks outside Sinai have grown more frequent in recent weeks.
On Monday, gunmen killed three policemen at a security checkpoint in Mansoura, a city north of Cairo, according to the Interior Ministry. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the shootings, but such attacks are typical for militants opposed to Egypt's military-backed government.
Despite the arrests of much of the Brotherhood's leadership, Morsi supporters have pressed forward with protests to try to maintain pressure on authorities to release the toppled leader, who has been held largely incommunicado since his detention on July 3. He is due to go on trial on Nov. 4 for allegedly inciting supporters to kill protesters outside his presidential palace in Cairo last December.
Police used tear gas Monday to disperse several hundred pro-Morsi university students who were rallying near Rabaah el-Adawiya, in eastern Cairo. As the protest got underway, army troops and police backed by armored vehicles blocked off the road leading to the site, creating a tense standoff that lasted hours. By late afternoon, the students retreated to their campus, while pelting security forces with rocks.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anti coup demonstrators reached Tahrir square

Tens of anti coup demonstrators reached Tahrir square tonight in one of the continuous demonstrations against the coup.As soon as the demonstrators reached the square,a group of criminals started attacking them,trying to disperse the demonstration. Central Security forces reached Tahrir square to disperse the demonstration.It is noteworthy  that This is the first time since 3 July,2013 for anti coup and president Morsy supporters to reach the square.These demonstrations are part of the big demonstrations that will take place next 6 October to put an end to the coup and military rule according to the demonstrators .

Israeli PM urges world not to 'trust' Rouhani

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his country's position that the only way to peacefully stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat, asserting that Israel would present that threat alone if need be.
"Don't let up the pressure [on Iran]," Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, adding that the only deal that could be made with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani was one that "fully dismantles Iran's nuclear weapons programme".
Describing Rouhani as "a wolf in sheep's clothing", Netanyahu argued that the Iranian president, who has been at the forefront of softening rhetoric and historic increasing engagement with the United States, was not being forthright.
"I wish we could believe Rouhani's words, but we must focus on Iran's action," Netanyahu said, while asserting that the real power in Iran remained the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
He outlined a four-point plan for resolving the dispute of Iran's nuclear programme diplomatically, warning that if it was not adhered to the threat of military action must remain on the table.
'Unfounded accusations'
Iran has consistently denied that it has a nuclear weapons programme, saying that its nuclear programme is for civilian use in the energy and medical sectors only.
Khodadad Seifi, a deputy ambassador at Iran's UN mission, responded to Netanyahu's speech by terming it "extremely inflammatory" and categorically rejected all of his "unfounded accusations".
Seifi asserted Iran's "sovereign right" to a peaceful nuclear programme.
Netanyahu pointed to the impact of tough international sanctions on the Iranian economy, and urged world powers to keep up the pressure.
"We all want to give diplomacy [...] a chance to succeed. But when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance," he said.
He also warned that Israel was prepared to present a military threat to Iran on the issue of its alleged nuclear weapons programme alone, if need be.
"I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone."
The Israeli prime minister, whose government has recently re-entered negotiations with Palestinians, also said that his government remained committed to "a demilitarised Palestinian state that recognises the Jewish state of Israel" and its "security needs"


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Torture is widespread in Libyan jails run by militias that toppled Moammar Gadhafi's regime in 2011, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday.
U.N. investigators, who had periodic access to various detention centers, said there is evidence that 27 people have been tortured to death in the prisons, 11 of them this year, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya.
The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said in a report released Tuesday that the problem is rampant in jails run by militias that triumphed in the eight-month civil war in 2011.
"In some cases, members of the armed brigades freely admitted, and even tried to justify, the physical abuse of detainees," the report said.
Last month, Libya adopted a new law that requires conflict-related detainees to be screened and processed within 90 days.
Conditions are improving for detainees held in prisons run by officers trained by Libya's Judicial Police, the report found. But many detention centers are still run by militias that have links to particular Libyan government ministries.
The U.N. investigators urged the Libyan government to accelerate the process of taking over the militia-run jails and installing trained police and corrections officers.
Some 8,000 detainees jailed since the eight-month civil war in 2011 are held without due process, the report said. They are usually held without access to lawyers and have only occasional access to families, the investigators found.
Torture "is most frequent immediately upon arrest and during the first days of interrogation as a means to extract confessions or other information," the report said.