16 militants killed in Sinai operation, says Egypt’s army

Daesh has killed scores of citizens and security personnel in Egypt. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2018
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16 militants killed in Sinai operation, says Egypt’s army

CAIRO: Egypt’s military said Sunday 16 militants, an officer and a soldier were killed in the past four days during a major military operation against Daesh militants in Sinai.
The army launched a sweeping campaign after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who is standing in elections for his second term this month, gave them a three-month deadline to crush Daesh in Sinai.
He issued his ultimatum in November after suspected Daesh gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers in a Sinai mosque associated with Sufi Muslim mystics.
Since the military, then led by El-Sisi, ousted President Muhammad Mursi in 2013, security forces have sought to quell attacks by the Egypt branch of Daesh.
The militants have killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in North Sinai but also elsewhere in Egypt.
They have also killed scores of Christians in church bombings and shootings, as well as bombing a Russian airliner carrying tourists from an Egyptian resort in 2015, killing all 224 people on board.
The military says it has evidence Daesh has sought to move members to Sinai following its defeats in Iraq and Syria.
On Saturday, an Egyptian court sentenced 10 people to death and five others to life in prison for forming a “terrorist cell” to plot attacks on security forces and other institutions.
The state-run MENA news agency said the defendants are affiliated with the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and are accused of aiming to assault security personnel and state institutions, target Egypt’s Christians and disrupt public order.
The verdict comes after consultation with the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority, over preliminary death sentences handed to the defendants earlier. The consultation is a formality followed by courts in the cases of capital punishment.
MENA said three of the 15 defendants were sentenced in absentia. Life sentences in Egypt are equal to 25 years. All of the sentences are subject to appeal.


Sudan protesters plan march on parliament, more demos

Updated 19 January 2019
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Sudan protesters plan march on parliament, more demos

KHARTOUM: A group that is spearheading anti-government protests across Sudan on Saturday said it plans to launch more nationwide rallies over the next few days, including a march on parliament.
Protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, when the government raised the price of bread, and since then have escalated into rallies against President Omar Al-Bashir’s three-decade rule.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of trade unions, in a statement called for a march on parliament Sunday to submit to lawmakers a memorandum calling for Bashir to step aside.
“We are calling for a march to parliament in Omdurman on Sunday,” it said referring to Khartoum’s twin city where parliament is located.
“The protesters will submit to parliament a memorandum calling on President Bashir to step down,” added the association, which represents the unions of doctors, teachers and engineers.
Over the past month, protesters have staged several demonstrations in Omdurman, on the west bank of the Nile.
Officials say at least 26 people, including two security personnel, have died during a month of protests, while rights group Amnesty International last week put the death toll at more than 40.
The group spearheading the protests said there will also be rallies in Khartoum on Sunday, to be followed by night-time demonstrations on Tuesday in the capital and in Omdurman.
“And on Thursday there will be rallies across all towns and cities of Sudan,” the statement added.
On Friday, hundreds of mourners leaving the funeral of a protester had staged a spontaneous demonstration in the capital’s Burri district, while crowds of Muslim worshippers had launched another rally in a mosque in Omdurman, witnesses said.
Protesters chanting “freedom, peace, justice” have been confronted by riot police with tear gas at several rallies since the first protest erupted in the eastern town of Atbara on December 19 after the rise of bread price.
The government’s tough response has sparked international criticism, while Bashir has blamed the violence on unidentified “conspirators.”
Analysts say the protests have emerged as the biggest challenge to the veteran leader’s rule who swept to power in 1989 in an Islamist-backed coup.
The protests come as Sudan suffers from an economic crisis driven by an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the price of food and medicines.