Egyptian who called for referendum on El-Sisi’s government arrested — lawyer

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was re-elected in March after all serious challengers were either arrested or pressured into leaving the race. (AFP)
Updated 23 August 2018
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Egyptian who called for referendum on El-Sisi’s government arrested — lawyer

CAIRO: The lawyer for a former diplomat who called for a referendum on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government has been arrested.
Khaled Ali says he was told by Masoum Marzouk’s family that he was taken from his home on Thursday and that his whereabouts are unknown.
Marzouk called for the referendum earlier this month and proposed a roadmap for a political transition if Egyptians voted against the government. He said if the government did not respond positively to the initiative he would hold a “popular conference” in Cairo’s Tahrir Square — epicenter of the 2011 uprising — on Aug. 31.
El-Sisi was re-elected in March after all serious challengers were either arrested or pressured into leaving the race. His government has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent in recent years.


Daesh claims Syria attack that killed 14, including 2 US soldiers

Updated 25 min 55 sec ago
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Daesh claims Syria attack that killed 14, including 2 US soldiers

  • Seven civilians died in the attack, while 10 others were wounded
  • A member of the US-led military was killed, and another was severely injured

BEIRUT: A blast struck near a US-led coalition patrol in Syria’s northern city of Manbij on Wednesday, and a war monitor said 14 people were killed including two Americans.
An Daesh-affiliated web site, Amaq, said an attacker with an explosive vest had struck a foreign military patrol in a suicide attack.
Reuters could not independently verify a report by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that 14 people had been killed in the attack including two US soldiers. The coalition could not be immediately reached for comment.
Last month, US President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria after concluding Daesh had been defeated there. The announcement rattled allies in the region and top US officials, including Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis who quit.
Two witnesses described Wednesday’s blast to Reuters. The US-backed, Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council militia that controls the town said there was preliminary information that people had been injured in Wednesday’s attack.
Manbij has been held by US-backed fighters allied to the Kurdish YPG militia since they took it from Daesh in 2016. It is located near areas held by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and by anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkey.
One of the witnesses said there was a “heavy” presence of military aircraft over Manbij following the blast, which took place near a vegetable market.