Crowds flock to funeral of ethnic Greek man slain in Albania

Katsifas was carried in an open casket draped with Greek flags as some mourners chanted “Konstantinos, you are alive and leading us!” (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2018
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Crowds flock to funeral of ethnic Greek man slain in Albania

  • The size of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania is believed to be around 25,000, in an overall population of 2.8 million
  • The neighbors have a number of other long-running disputes, including a disagreement over their maritime border, which is believed to straddle lucrative energy resources

BULARAT, Albania: Hundreds attended a funeral in southern Albania on Thursday for an ethnic Greek man who was killed by police there last month, inflaming tensions between Athens and Tirana.
Konstantinos Katsifas, who had dual Greek and Albanian citizenship, was killed during a shootout with police in the town of Bularat on October 28.
Albanian authorities described the 35-year-old as a Greek “extremist” who had fired a Kalashnikov into the air in the center of the village, nearby where a ceremony was being held to commemorate Greek soldiers who fought in World War II.
A 30-minute shootout ensued after police tried to apprehend him.
Athens said the loss of life was “unacceptable” and requested a full investigation, while some Greek nationalist groups have protested against the killing, firebombing an Albanian tourism office in Athens.
On Thursday hundreds of mourners carrying white-and-blue Greek flags flocked by bus and car, some traveling from Greece, to Bularat.
Katsifas was carried in an open casket draped with Greek flags as some mourners chanted “Konstantinos, you are alive and leading us!”
A police source told AFP that 10 Greek nationalists were arrested at the border and banned from entering Albania to attend the funeral.
The treatment of Albania’s ethnic Greeks has long strained bilateral relations.
The size of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania is disputed, though a 2011 census put it at 25,000, in an overall population of 2.8 million. They are concentrated in the south.
Some 600,000 Albanians have also emigrated to Greece since the fall of communism almost 30 years ago.
The neighbors have a number of other long-running disputes, including a disagreement over their maritime border, which is believed to straddle lucrative energy resources.
In an illustration of their complex relations, the countries have yet to officially lift the state of war declared in 1940, though both sides have indicated an intention to do so.


Pakistan PM Imran Khan fires back after criticism from Donald Trump

Updated 26 min 45 sec ago
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Pakistan PM Imran Khan fires back after criticism from Donald Trump

  • Imran Khan tweeted that Pakistan had suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123 billion in the “US War on Terror”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s prime minister fired back Monday after President Donald Trump accused the country of harboring Osama bin Laden despite getting billions of dollars in American aid.
Imran Khan tweeted that Pakistan had suffered 75,000 casualties and lost $123 billion in the “US War on Terror,” despite the fact that no Pakistanis were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. He said the US has only provided a “minuscule” $20 billion in aid.
US commandos killed bin Laden in a May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he had been living in seclusion in a house near a well-known military academy. Pakistan denies it knew bin Laden’s whereabouts prior to the raid, which was carried out without its knowledge. It later arrested Dr. Shakil Afridi, who had run a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to help the CIA confirm bin Laden’s whereabouts.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Trump said “everybody in Pakistan” knew bin Laden was there and no one said anything despite the US providing $1.3 billion a year in aid. Trump said he had cut off the aid “because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
The US and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye to Islamic extremists and of harboring leaders of the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan denies those allegations, pointing to the heavy toll of its war against the Pakistani Taliban, a separate militant group that carries out attacks inside Pakistan.
Khan said Pakistan’s tribal areas along the border have been devastated by years of war, with millions uprooted from their homes.
He also pointed to the logistical support Pakistan has provided for the US war in Afghanistan. The main overland supply route for American forces fighting in Afghanistan runs through Pakistan.
Khan said the US has made Pakistan a “scapegoat” for its failures in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are stronger than at any point since the 2001 US-led invasion.