Egypt jails 14 over deadly stadium stampede

Soccer fans hold lit flares at the stand as they watch a match between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI at Air Defense Stadium in a suburb east of Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday, February 8, 2015. (File photo by AP)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Egypt jails 14 over deadly stadium stampede

CAIRO: An Egyptian court jailed two people for life on Sunday and 12 to between two and 10 years over violence that led to a deadly football stadium stampede in Cairo.
At least 19 people died in the disaster after police fired tear gas at fans who tried to push their way into the stadium in February 2015.
The defendants faced charges including murder, thuggery and vandalism, and were accused of clashing with police, leading to the stampede.
Two received life sentences, three were given 10 years, five got seven years, three were jailed for three years each and one received a two-year sentence.
Two people were acquitted.
All of the accused were in court for the verdict which can still be appealed.
The fixture between Cairo teams Zamalek and ENPPI was one of the first premier league games open to the public since a ban on fans after more than 70 people died in stadium riots in Port Said in 2012.
The government reinstated the ban after the 2015 stadium deaths in the capital.
Egypt’s hard core football fans, known as Ultras, have often clashed with police, including in political unrest that toppled two presidents.
The prosecution accused the Muslim Brotherhood, designated a “terrorist group” in 2013, of financing Zamalek supporters called Ultras White Knights to “spread chaos and suspend (football) activity.”
The government cracked down on supporters of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi, who was ousted by the army in July, 2013.
Initially, the crackdown mainly targeted Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, but later expanded to include other members of the opposition.


Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

Updated 50 min 10 sec ago
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Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

  • The Syrians who approached the fence were 200 meters away, when an Israeli soldier told them to leave
  • The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly toward the refugee encampment

GOLAN HEIGHTS: Dozens of Syrians approached the Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary from a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive, before turning back after a warning from Israeli forces.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have arrived near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the past month, fleeing a rapidly advancing offensive which has defeated rebels across a swathe of territory near Jordan and Israel.
“Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back,” an Israeli army officer on the Israeli side of a frontier fence told the crowd in Arabic through a megaphone. “Get a move on.”
The offensive has triggered the single biggest displacement of the war, with several hundred thousand people uprooted. Both Israel and Jordan have said they will not allow Syrians to cross into their territory.
Israel, which seized the Golan in the 1967 Middle East War, has given humanitarian aid to refugees in encampments close to a 1974 Israeli-Syrian disengagement line. Many of the displaced are sheltering within the disengagement zone that is monitored by a UN force.
The Syrians who approached the frontier fence stopped some 200 meters (yards) away, before an Israeli soldier told them to leave.
“You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, we don’t want to hurt you,” the soldier shouted in Arabic through a loudspeaker at the crowd, live Reuters TV footage showed.
The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly toward the refugee encampment. Some stopped mid-way and waved white cloths in the direction of the Israeli frontier.
The Russian-backed offensive has advanced swiftly, unopposed by President Bashar Assad’s foreign adversaries. The United States, which once armed the southern rebels, told them not to expect it to intervene as the attack got underway last month.
A witness on the Syrian side of the Golan frontier said the sound of bombardment was drawing ever nearer. The United Nations said last week up to 160,000 Syrians had fled to Quneitra province, some in close proximity to the Golan area.

Government forces celebrate
Israel has threatened a harsh response to any attempt by Syrian forces to deploy in the disengagement zone, complicating the government offensive as it draws closer to the frontier.
Israel does not want its enemies Iran and Hezbollah, both allies of Assad, to move forces near its border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking alongside US President Donald Trump on Monday, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders to the state that prevailed before the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.
At least 14 people, including five children and some women, were killed when Syrian government forces dropped a barrel bomb on the village of Ain Al-Tineh 10 km (6 miles) from the Golan frontier, according to UOSSM, a medical aid charity that operates in the area.
Ahmad Al-Dbis, UOSSM safety and security manager, said another 35 people had been wounded in the attack which he said had hit a school. The casualties had fled to the village from nearby parts of the southwest.
Syrian state TV broadcast from a hilltop captured from rebels on Monday and overlooking the Golan frontier. Government fighters waved rifles and held aloft pictures of Assad as they celebrated on camera from the location, Al-Haara hill.
“We will liberate all Syria,” said one of the soldiers.