Egypt court jails 262 for offenses at 2013 Cairo sit-in

Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi looks on during a trial session on charges of espionage in Cairo. (EPA)
Updated 09 January 2018
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Egypt court jails 262 for offenses at 2013 Cairo sit-in

CAIRO: An Egyptian court jailed 262 people from three years to life on Tuesday for security-related offenses during a 2013 sit-in protest against the ousting of former president Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, judicial sources said.
They were charged with causing the deaths of two policemen during clashes at Al-Nahda square in Giza in southern Cairo, as well as other counts of attempted murder and vandalism.
Seventeen people were sentenced to life in prison, 223 were given 15 years and another 22 accused were given three years.
The court acquitted 115 others accused in the case.
Al-Nahda square was one of two sites where Mursi supporters gathered in the weeks following his overthrow by the military in July 2013 led by then general and now President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Sissi was elected in 2014 and is expected to seek a second term in a March vote this year.
Authorities broke up the two sit-ins — at Al-Nahda and Rabaa squares — in August 2013, killing hundreds of protesters. Protests were banned shortly after the two pro-Mursi camps were dispersed and scores were arrested.
Hundreds of Mursi sympathizers have been detained and prosecuted since his ousting. Egypt has banned the Muslim Brotherhood, deeming it a terrorist organization.
The government accuses the Brotherhood of fomenting an insurgency since Mursi’s removal. Militant attacks have killed hundreds of Egyptians, mostly soldiers and police.
Security forces have killed hundreds and detained thousands of members of the group, which says it is committed to political change through peaceful means only.
The court also ordered on Tuesday that those sentenced be fined a total of nearly 40 million Egyptian pounds ($2.27 million) for damaging public property.


Did lightning strike trigger Gaza rocket attack on Israel?

Updated 23 October 2018
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Did lightning strike trigger Gaza rocket attack on Israel?

  • Hamas took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack
  • Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true

JERUSALEM: A theory that a lightning strike triggered Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza last week gained traction in Israel on Tuesday and might explain the Israeli military’s limited response.
Two rockets were launched from the Hamas-ruled enclave on Oct. 17. But the group took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack. Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true.
One of the rockets wrecked a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, causing no casualties, the other landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel responded with air strikes that killed a militant in Gaza.
Soon afterwards, video appeared on social media showing lightning illuminating the night sky in Gaza and then two flaming rockets streaking into the air.
Israel’s best-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet now believed the lighting set off a launch mechanism.
Asked about the report, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the security cabinet, told Israel Radio: “I won’t discuss security cabinet meetings and I don’t know which ministers are chatting with journalists, but I can say that as far as we know, Hamas did not intend to fire those rockets.”
Hamas officials had no immediate comment.
The rocket launchings coincided with Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars in the past 10 years.