Family dead in Syria regime shelling on Daesh-held district

Smoke billows in a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus, during regime strikes targeting Daesh in the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, and neighboring districts, on April 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2018
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Family dead in Syria regime shelling on Daesh-held district

BEIRUT: A family of three was killed late Saturday in a wave of regime shelling on a southern district of Syria’s capital held by Daesh, a monitor said.
Syrian troops are waging an intense bombing campaign against Yarmuk, a Palestinian refugee camp on the edge of Damascus, and nearby districts that are held by Daesh.
A woman, her husband, and their child were killed in the Yarmuk shelling, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.
“This brings to nine the number of civilians killed since the shelling escalated on Thursday,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The bombing and clashes continued into Sunday, Abdel Rahman said, with air strikes, artillery, and surface-to-surface missiles hitting the neighborhood.
Yarmuk was once a densely-populated and thriving district of the capital, but it has been ravaged by violence since Syria’s conflict broke out in 2011.
Syria’s government imposed a crippling siege on it in 2012, and fighting among rebels and rival extremists has exhausted residents.
In 2015, Daesh overran most of Yarmuk, and the small numbers of other rebels and extremists, including from Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate, that had a presence there agreed to withdraw just a few weeks ago.
Simultaneously, the Syrian army was finishing off the last rebel pockets in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that had been the opposition’s main bastion near the capital.
Securing Ghouta has allowed the regime to refocus on Yarmuk, but the escalating shelling has sparked worries among humanitarian organizations.
The UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said it was “deeply concerned about the fate of civilians” and thousands of refugees in and around the camp.


Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 56 min 8 sec ago
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Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.