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Egypt’s airstrikes kill militants involved in deadly mosque attack

Scores more wounded after suspected militants target al-Rawdah mosque in north Sinai

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Cairo, Nov 25: The Egyptian airstrikes hit a number of vehicles of militants involved in the deadly attack on a mosque in North Sinai province that left 305 people killed including 27 childeren, according to news agency AFP.

In addition, the air forces targeted a number of hideouts containing weapons and ammunition that belong to the extremists,” military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay said in the statement, XInhua news agency reported.

The military raids came several hours after a terrorist attack on Friday noon against a mosque at a small village in North Sinai that killed 305 worshippers and wounded over 100 others.

Terror attacks started to rise in Egypt following the military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Since then, most of the attacks focused on restive North Sinai and killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, before they later started to extend to other provinces and target the Coptic minority in their churches.

Now they started to target the Muslim worshipers at mosques for the first time, which is an unprecedented development in terrorist tactics in the country according to security experts.

Fingers are pointed at a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State, which has claimed most of the large terrorist operations in Egypt over the past few years and whose affiliates are currently facing massive security crackdown in Syria and Iraq.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a televised speech Friday evening that “this mean, sinful terrorist attack will only increase our strength, resolution and unity in our fight against terrorism,” vowing that “we will respond fiercely against this minor group of extremists and terrorists.”

The Egyptian President received phone calls on Friday from many world leaders who offered their condolences over the tragic attack and voiced their support for the North African country in its war against terrorism.

IANS

Middle East

UN appeals for countries to take in 1,300 Libyan refugees

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Libyan refugees

The UN has appealed to countries worldwide to take in 1,300 mainly African refugees stranded in Libya. Many of them were mistreated while being detained appalling conditions.

Niger has agreed to temporarily host the most vulnerable of the evacuees, including unaccompanied children and single mothers, pending their processing and departure for resettlement, Reuters said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Monday that it “urgently requests 1,300 places for resettlement” to be made available by the end of March. The UNHCR intends to evacuate between 700 and 1,300 people from Libya to Niger by the end of January 2018.

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Middle East

‘Don’t buy from Arabs’, says Israeli Defense Minister

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Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on his fellow citizens to boycott the Palestinian market of the Wadi Ara region of north-east Israel, after riots broke out there on Saturday over the American decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

Three people were injured when protesters began hurling stones at a bus. “I am calling for a boycott of Wadi Ara. Don’t go there and don’t buy there. They need to understand that it is impossible to demonstrate with Hezbollah flags, Palestinian flags and pictures of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah.

To accept billions from the National Insurance [Institute] and to also destroy us from within,” Haaretz quoted Lieberman telling Army Radio.

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Middle East

Hamas leader calls for ‘new intifada in the face of Israel’

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Ismail Haniyeh

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for a new uprising against Israel following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state.

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in a speech in Gaza Thursday, Reuters reports.

Anti-US protests erupted almost immediately after Trump’s declaration Wednesday, with Palestinians first to take to the streets, calling for three days of rage against the move.

World leaders expressed serious concern over the decision and its potential to destabilize the region.

The decision has been welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked Trump, and said he be believes “many” other nations will follow suit in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pope Francis said he could not “remain silent” and spoke of his “great anxiety” surrounding the decision, while the EU voiced “serious concern.”

“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,”Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

“Jerusalem is a unique city,” he added, “sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”

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