Libya clashes leave four dead east of Tripoli: ministry

Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord man a checkpoint in the Hay al-Andalus neighbourhood of Tripoli in March 2017. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2017
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Libya clashes leave four dead east of Tripoli: ministry

TRIPOLI: Clashes between forces loyal to Libya’s unity government and rival fighters east of Tripoli have left four people dead including at least two civilians, the health ministry said.
Another 21 people were wounded in the fighting on Sunday and Monday in Garabulli about 60 kilometers (40 miles) east of the capital, the ministry said overnight on Facebook.
Two foreign workers, whose nationalities were unclear, were among those killed, it said.
Clashes broke out on Sunday evening between forces loyal to the Government of National Accord and fighters aligned with former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil who refuses to recognize the UN-backed government in Tripoli, witnesses said.
The violence was continuing at dawn on Tuesday, they said.
Pro-GNA forces backed by dozens of tanks and pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns deployed east of the capital heading for Garabulli on the weekend, the witnesses said.
On Friday the GNA warned groups it described as “outlaws” against attempting to advance on Tripoli, adding that it had instructed security forces to prevent an assault on the capital.
Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 toppling of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with various militias and administrations vying for control of the oil-rich country.
A rival authority based in the country’s east has refused to recognize the GNA since it started working in Tripoli in March last year.


Egypt flooding sparks fury

Cars drive through a flooded street after a flash flood affected Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday. EPA
Updated 16 min 45 sec ago
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Egypt flooding sparks fury

  • Homes in the Fifth Settlement, one of the capital’s most affluent districts, were flooded on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • The public reacted angrily to what they regarded as incompetent management by officials

CAIRO: Extreme weather brought Cairo to a standstill this week with severe flooding that caused buildings to collapse. 

Homes in the Fifth Settlement, one of the capital’s most affluent districts, were flooded on Tuesday and Wednesday and hit by power cuts lasting hours. Motorists on Cairo’s busy ring road were forced to sleep in their cars after being stranded for more than eight hours.

And in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, a man died when a billboard on the popular coastal promenade blew away and fell on him.

Trains were delayed because of heavy rainfall and the police rescued 30 students from the Hayah International Academy after they fell down a mountain during a trip to the Wadi Degla nature reserve.

The public reacted angrily to what they regarded as incompetent management by officials.

Rain caused extensive damage to Area Ragy’s home in the Fifth Settlement when water poured through the ceiling.

“Everything is ruined in my flat. Home appliances don’t work any more and I don’t know how I’m going to pay for the damage,” said Ragy, a 28-year-old housewife. “I kept calling 122 (the police emergency number) but they did not even answer. Who should I call then when something like that happens? We were stuck with no one to give us any kind of support. No one is telling us anything. People are always on their own.”

The city’s sanitation authority set up a hotline but claimed that it had received no complaints, however residents said that they were unable to reach anyone from the authority because the chief and his deputies had their mobile phones switched off.

Others complained about the lack of equipment to pump water and mud from streets built without storm drains, and posted pictures of themselves stuck in traffic with ankle-deep water inside their cars.

“My kids and I could not get home to Maadi (south Cairo) and had to sleep in our car,” Ahmed Abdel-Latif, a 32-year-old civil engineer, told Arab News. “The kids kept crying and I couldn’t do anything for them. We did not move a meter for two hours, and we are talking here about a wealthy neighborhood that is maybe less than ten years old ... This is how our modern roads look.”

Traffic police commander Abdellah Rashad confirmed that the road from Cairo to Ain Sokhna was also closed for 60 kilometers due to “heavy rain.”

People posted photos of the collapsed ceiling at the relatively new Point 90 mall near the American University as an example of the “weak infrastructure” of the high-priced buildings in the Fifth Settlement.

“The best place for agriculture now is the Fifth Settlement,” said one Facebook post. Another read: “Villas for sale with sea view.” 

In the absence of any help from officials, activists launched their own information-gathering system using the hashtag #Kalak_Kajra_Jadidah (“so this is new Cairo”). 

Mohamed Arfan, the minister of administrative supervision, made a surprise tour of the New Cairo area on Wednesday night and quizzed workers at the electricity station about the reasons for the power cuts. He said that the city had to be better prepared in future to avoid a repeat of the disaster.

Sanitation authority officials have been called in to explain themselves as part of an inquiry into why there was apparently so much negligence.