Protesters burn Israeli flags during rallies in Lebanon

Palestinians and Lebanese hold Palestinian flags as they march in the streets after Friday prayers in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)
Updated 08 December 2017

Protesters burn Israeli flags during rallies in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Palestinian and Lebanese groups staged demonstrations after Friday prayers throughout Lebanon and inside Palestinian refugee camps. They denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Friday sermons stressed “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”

A massive rally was staged in Beirut's Tareek El-Jadida, an area where Palestinian refugee camps are mixed with Sunni-majority neighborhoods. People carried signs that read “Jerusalem unites us,” and “We will sacrifice our lives for Jerusalem.”

The Future Movement organized a rally near the tomb of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri at which party MPs raised both Lebanese and Palestinian flags.

Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan, the grand mufti of Lebanon, said from a mosque in Beirut: “Jerusalem was, and will forever be, Arab, against the wish of all tyrants. This decision will have repercussions and will not go unnoticed.”

Rallies where Israeli flags were burned took place in Saida and also in Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp on the city’s outskirts.

University students rallied in Tripoli as well.

Supporters of Lebanese parties loyal to Hezbollah and Syria will rally around the US Embassy on Sunday, and Hezbollah’s supporters will also rally next Monday in Beirut's southern suburb.

The US Embassy in Lebanon issued warnings to its nationals in the country to “avoid demonstrations,” knowing that several groups had announced staging public rallies following the US decision to designate occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The warning noted that the rallies “may become violent.”

In an official statement, the US Embassy called on its nationals to “review personal safety precautions, stay aware of their surroundings and local events, follow local news for updates, maintain a high level of caution, follow the right steps to ensure their personal security, follow the local authorities’ instructions, avoid areas where riots are staged, and be careful if they happened to be in an area where a riot or a massive rally is taking place.”

Lebanon participated in the delegate-level extraordinary meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Friday and was represented by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

Egypt expresses dismay to UK envoy over British Airways flight suspension

Updated 22 min 30 sec ago

Egypt expresses dismay to UK envoy over British Airways flight suspension

  • British Airways suspended flights to Cairo on Saturday for seven days “as a security precaution”
  • The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment

CAIRO: Egypt’s aviation minister on Sunday expressed his dismay over British Airways’ decision to suspend flights to the Egyptian capital to the UK’s ambassador to Cairo.
International Airlines Group’s British Airways suspended flights to Cairo on Saturday for seven days “as a security precaution” as it reviews security at the city’s airport.
Later on Saturday, Germany’s Lufthansa said it had canceled services from Munich and Frankfurt to Cairo but it resumed flights on Sunday.
Air France, Emirates and Etihad Airways continued to operate flights to Cairo.
Younis Al-Masry “expressed his displeasure at British Airways taking a decision unilaterally concerning the security of Egyptian airports without referring to the competent Egyptian authorities,” the aviation ministry said in a statement released after a meeting between the Egyptian aviation minister and British Ambassador Geoffrey Adams.
The statement went on to say that Adams had apologized for not informing Egyptian authorities before the decision was made and cited him as saying the flight suspension was not related to the security measures at Egyptian airports.
The British embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment.
A spokesman for Air France, in a statement sent to Reuters, said the airline had decided to maintain its service to Cairo after liasing with French and Egyptian authorities.
An Emirates spokeswoman said its flights were operating to schedule.
“We are closely assessing the situation and are in contact with the relevant aviation authorities with regards to our flight operations to Egypt,” the spokeswoman said.
The website for Abu Dhabi’s Etihad showed its services were also operating and a spokesman said the airline was monitoring the security situation in Cairo.
Tourism, a key source of foreign revenue for Egypt, has been recovering after visitor numbers dropped in the wake of a 2011 uprising and the 2015 bombing of a Russian jet, which killed all 224 people on board shortly after takeoff.
That attack, which was claimed by Islamic State, prompted Russia to halt all flights to Egypt for several years and a number of countries including Britain to cease flights to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, which have yet to resume.