Libya repatriates bodies of Egyptian Copts killed by Daesh

Libyan Red Crescent workers carry coffins, containing the remains of Egyptian Copts killed by Daesh in Sirte, which were transferred to Egypt after forensic tests were completed in Misrata. (Reuters)
Updated 14 May 2018
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Libya repatriates bodies of Egyptian Copts killed by Daesh

  • The remains of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians executed by Daesh in 2015, near the city of Sirte, were repatriated.
  • After the executions, tens of thousands of Egyptians working in Libya’s construction, service, agriculture and handicraft sectors fled the country.

MISRATA: Libya on Monday repatriated the remains of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians executed by Daesh in 2015 near the city of Sirte, their former bastion in the country.
The coffins were loaded at Misrata airport onto a Libyan Afriqiyah Airways cargo plane bound for Cairo.
The bodies of the 20 Egyptian men and another man whom a medical examiner believes to be from sub-Saharan Africa were found in October near Sirte.
The doctor, Othman Al-Zentani, said identifying the bodies was “not an easy task,” as they had decomposed and the heads had been separated from the torsos.
DNA samples sent by families of the victims were vital to the identification process, Al-Zentani said.
On February 15, 2015, Daesh broadcast a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians abducted in January that year in western Libya.
After the executions, tens of thousands of Egyptians working in Libya’s construction, service, agriculture and handicraft sectors fled the country.
Libya has been gripped by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.
A UN-backed unity government based in the capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority outside the west, and military strongman Khalifa Haftar controls much of the east.
Daesh remains active in central and southern Libya despite being forced out of their northern bastion Sirte, Qaddafi’s hometown, in December 2016.


Lebanese budget protesters clash with security in Beirut

Updated 20 May 2019
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Lebanese budget protesters clash with security in Beirut

  • Over one hundred protesters gathered Monday outside the Government House in downtown Beirut
  • Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt

BEIRUT: Security forces opened water cannons on Lebanese anti-austerity protesters in the country’s capital on Monday, as the government continued to hold marathon meetings to discuss severe budget cuts.
Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt, rising unemployment and slow growth. The government’s tightened budget and key reforms aim to unlock billions of dollars in pledged foreign assistance. But planned cuts have unleashed a wave of public discontent, amid leaks that austerity could target public wages, services and social benefits.

A retired Lebanese soldier chants slogans while holding an army flag, during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday. (AP)

Over one hundred protesters gathered Monday outside the Government House in downtown Beirut shouting “Thieves, thieves!” as the Cabinet met for its 16th session and struggles to reach agreement.
Protesters pushed back against police lines and set fire to tires outside the building. At least two policemen and one civilian were wounded in the scuffles.
Among those demonstrating Monday were public and private school teachers and retired officers.
The government, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, has sought to calm nerves while also describing the upcoming budget as the most austere in Lebanon’s history.
Hariri said he hopes the government will be able to send the budget to parliament later this week.
Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said the cabinet made “important progress” in discussions Sunday.