Egypt Islamists, secularists clash as vote ‘to go ahead’

Updated 05 December 2012
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Egypt Islamists, secularists clash as vote ‘to go ahead’

CAIRO: Islamist supporters of Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi chased opposition secularists away from the presidential palace Wednesday, as the vice president said a vote on a controversial charter would go ahead as planned.
Thousands of Islamists rallied to the call of the Muslim Brotherhood, chanting “The people want to cleanse the square” of opposition demonstrators, and “Mursi has legitimacy.”
Minor clashes involving stone-throwing took place before the secular-leaning opposition protesters, who had besieged the building in their tens of thousands on Tuesday, fled the area, an AFP photographer said.
As clashes took place outside, Vice President Mahmud Mekki told reporters at the presidential palace that a contested referendum over a constitution drafted by an Islamist-leaning panel would proceed on December 15 as planned.
The vote “will go ahead on time,” he said, and invited the opposition to put their objections to articles in the constitution in writing for future discussion.
“This is not a formal initiative but a personal idea,” he told journalists.
Tens of thousands of opposition protesters had besieged the presidential palace on Tuesday demanding that Mursi go, opposing the charter and with some calling for a boycott of the referendum.
The unrest was sparked by a presidential decree on November 22 granting Mursi sweeping new powers and was exacerbated by the draft charter, which opponents and activists say paves the way for a strict interpretation of Islamic law and fails to guarantee religious and press freedoms.


Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

Updated 18 June 2018
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Israeli planes strike Hamas targets in Gaza

  • The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site
  • “Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes on Monday conducted strikes against nine Hamas “military targets” in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.
The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.
“Fire balloons” and kites carrying flammable material have become symbols of the Palestinian border protests in recent months.
The Israeli army on Saturday wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip attempting to launch incendiary balloons across the border into Israel, officials said.
Since major border protests broke out at the end of March, more than 300 fires have devastated several thousand hectares of fields and shrubland, the Israeli fire service has said.
According to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 400 kites have been intercepted from some 600 launched since the start of the recent protests.
At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the same time span. No Israelis have been killed.
Palestinians are calling to return to the homes their families fled or were forced from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas which Israel considers its chief enemy.
The two sides have fought three wars since 2008 and observe a tense cease-fire.