Egypt orders detention of four men over hot air balloon crash

This file photo shows an Egyptian pilot flying a hot air balloon over Egypt’s ancient temple city of Luxor. A hot air balloon carrying around 20 people including tourists crashed near Egypt’s ancient city of Luxor on Jan. 5, 2018.(AFP)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Egypt orders detention of four men over hot air balloon crash

CAIRO: The public prosecutor in the sounthern Egyptian city of Luxor ordered the detention of four men pending an investigation into a hot air balloon crash that killed a South African tourist and injured several others, state news agency MENA said on Saturday.
State media blamed Friday’s crash, near Luxor, on poor weather conditions.
High winds and sandstorms swept the country on Friday, clouding the skies at Cairo’s main airport and forcing the closure of a number of Red Sea ports.
MENA did not say if charges had been brought against the four men, who include the pilot. Judicial sources said an initial investigation suggested that negligence could have contributed to the crash.
A South African man died and an Argentinian and two French tourists were being treated in hospital. A number of other tourists were also taken to Luxor International Hospital but released after a few hours.
Luxor, a city surrounded by ancient tombs and other historic sites, is one of the main focuses of Egypt’s tourism industry — a key revenue-earner that the government has been trying to revive after years of political turmoil.
Nineteen people, most of them Asian and European tourists, died near Luxor in 2013 when a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed after a mid-air gas explosion.


US targets two individuals, three entities in Hezbollah-related sanctions program

Updated 33 min 5 sec ago
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US targets two individuals, three entities in Hezbollah-related sanctions program

  • Targeted for sanctions under US regulations aimed at suspected terrorists or those who support them
  • Comes at a time of growing US concern about role of Hezbollah in Lebanese government

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Treasury, moving to boost pressure on Hezbollah, imposed sanctions on Wednesday against two people and three firms that Washington accuses of being involved in schemes to help the armed Shi'ite group backed by Iran evade American sanctions.

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it was targeting Belgium-based Wael Bazzi because he acted on behalf of his father Mohammad Bazzi, a Hezbollah financier.

OFAC also took action against two Belgian companies and a British-based firm controlled by Bazzi.

In addition, the US Treasury designated Lebanon-based Hassan Tabaja, who it said had acted on behalf of his brother Adham Tabajha, also a Hezbollah financier. The U.S. action freezes their assets and property and prevents U.S. citizens and businesses from dealing with them.

The two men and three businesses were targeted for sanctions under US regulations aimed at suspected terrorists or those who support them, the Treasury said in a statement. Hezbollah is considered a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

"Treasury is relentlessly pursuing Hezbollah's financial facilitators by dismantling two of Hezbollah's most important financial networks," Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker said in a statement.

"By targeting Hassan Tabaja and Wael Bazzi and their European-based companies, this administration is continuing to disrupt all avenues of financial support relied upon by Hezbollah," he said.

The US State Department earlier this week offered a reward of up to $10 million for information that could help disrupt Hezbollah's financing.

The move to boost pressure on the group comes at a time of growing US concern about its role in the Lebanese government. Hezbollah's regional clout has expanded as it has sent fighters to Middle East conflicts, including the war in Syria, where it supported President Bashar al-Assad.