Egyptian military denies New York Times report on Israeli airstrikes in North Sinai

Egypt’s military spokesperson on Sunday denied a recent New York Times report claiming that Israeli air forces have conducted air strikes against Daesh targets in North Sinai. (AFP)
Updated 04 February 2018
0

Egyptian military denies New York Times report on Israeli airstrikes in North Sinai

CAIRO: Egypt’s military spokesperson on Sunday denied a recent New York Times report claiming that Israeli air forces have conducted air strikes against Daesh targets in North Sinai with Egyptian approval.
Military spokesperson Tamer El-Refaai told Egypt Independent the NYT report claiming that Israel launched air strikes against Daesh stationing points in North Sinai are “inaccurate” and “not credible.”
The NYT report claimed that “unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets” have carried “more than 100” aerial strikes inside Egypt against Daesh “over the past two years”.
It claimed that the airstrikes have been conducted “with the approval of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.”
The spokesperson stressed that the Egyptian army is the only entity carrying out military operations in North Sinai, in cooperation with Egyptian police forces.
He also called on media outlets to “investigate the accuracy of what is being published”.


Jordan weighs up Russian offer for voluntary return of Syrian refugees

Destroyed buildings following an explosion on Aug. 12 at an arms depot in a residential area in Syria’s Idlib province city of Sarmada. (AFP)
Updated 16 August 2018
0

Jordan weighs up Russian offer for voluntary return of Syrian refugees

  • Russia has offered to repatriate the Syrians by the end of 2018 but Jordan does not want to force displaced Syrians to return to their homeland
  • Jordan would benefit from reopening its border with Syria, but also carried risks of terrorists enter the country with fake IDs

AMMAN: Russia will help Jordan repatriate more than 150,000 Syrian refugees who fled fighting with the Assad regime in the country’s south, a Jordanian official said.

The official said Russia will repatriate the Syrians by the end of 2018 following the establishment of a center near the border with Syria to process their paperwork.

Jordan’s Minister for Media Affairs Jumana Ghneimat said the Russian proposal has been under discussion.

The Jordanian government refused to force displaced Syrians to return to their homeland, she said.

“It is up to the refugee to decide whether he wants to return, although the presence of large numbers of Syrians has become a burden for Jordan.”

The refugees are mainly from the war-ravaged provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida, the scene of fierce clashes between rebels and Assad government forces. 

Ghneimat said the establishment of a processing center nine kilometers from the border with Syria was part of Russia’s larger proposal for the return of the refugees.

Asked about the reopening of the Nassib border crossing, the minister said it was up to Syria to decide if the crossing would be operational.

The Assad regime had not asked Jordan to reopen the border, she said.

The Jordanian border crossing of Jaber is ready to operate and roads leading to the site are secure, Ghneimat said.

A technical team, including several ministry representatives, visited the crossing last week on a tour of inspection.

Jordan would benefit from reopening the border, which is an important avenue for trade with Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and several European countries, a transport ministry official said.

But reopening the border carried risks, including a fear that terrorists would enter the country with fake IDs, the official said.

The closure of the Jordan-Syrian border had severely affected Jordan’s transport sector, the head of the Syndicate of Jordanian Truck Owners said.

But he said that Jordanian trucks are ready to carry goods to Syria as soon as the border crossing is reopened. Before the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011, about 7,000 trucks drove through the crossing each day.