Egyptian explosives expert killed defusing bomb in Cairo

The was planted near a church in Cairo's Nasr City district. (Shutterstock file photo)
Updated 06 January 2019
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Egyptian explosives expert killed defusing bomb in Cairo

CAIRO: A policeman was killed while trying to dismantle an explosive device outside a Coptic church in Egypt on Saturday, a security source said.
Two other officers were also wounded in the explosion as security personnel attempted to defuse the device in Nasr City on the edge of Cairo, the source added.
It had been hidden inside a bag that was searched by police. The policeman who was killed, Mustafa Abid, was a specialist in mine clearance.
Coptic Christians, who account for around 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have been targeted in a string of attacks by the Daesh group in recent years.
The latest attack comes ahead of Christmas mass on Sunday when President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is due to inaugurate the Cathedral of Nativity in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometers (28 miles) east of Cairo.
Security has been reinforced in the capital in recent weeks ahead of Christmas, which Egypt’s minority Coptic Christians will celebrate on January 7.
The country’s leader since 2014, El-Sisi often presents himself as a defender of Christians against extremists.
But activists and some analysts accuse the state of discriminating against them and not providing enough protection.
More than 100 Copts have been killed in jihadist attacks since December 2016.
IS claimed an assault in early November which killed six Copts and one Anglican in the central province of Minya.
The police later said 19 suspected jihadists linked to the attack had been killed in a shootout.
IS also killed more than 40 people in twin church bombings in April 2017, and an IS gunman in December that year killed nine people in an attack on a church in a south Cairo suburb.
Hundreds of police and soldiers have also been killed in attacks, and last week three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide died when a homemade bomb exploded on their bus on the outskirts of Cairo.
The country has been under a state of emergency since April 2017.


Iraq exhumes bodies thought to be Kurds killed by Saddam

Updated 23 July 2019
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Iraq exhumes bodies thought to be Kurds killed by Saddam

  • “More than 70 bodies including women and children, ranging from newborns to 10 years old” have so far been exhumed
  • “The evidence collected indicates they were summarily executed in 1988,” said the head of Baghdad’s Medico-Legal Directorate

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Tuesday began exhuming the remains of dozens of victims, including children, likely killed during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein’s campaign against the country’s Kurds, a forensics official told AFP.
The mass grave was uncovered in Tal Al-Sheikhiya, about 300 kilometers (200 miles) south of Baghdad, said Zaid Al-Youssef, the head of Baghdad’s Medico-Legal Directorate which is tasked with identifying the remains.
“More than 70 bodies including women and children, ranging from newborns to 10 years old” have so far been exhumed, Youssef said.
Those remains were recovered from the surface layer of the site, he said, but “there could be a second deeper layer” with additional bodies.
“The evidence collected indicates they were summarily executed in 1988,” said Youssef, which coincides with Saddam’s brutal “Anfal” campaign against Iraq’s Kurds.
The operation took place between 1987 and 1988 and saw nearly 180,000 Kurds killed and more than 3,000 villages destroyed.
“The female victims were blindfolded and killed by gunshots to the head, but also have traces on various parts of their bodies of bullets that were fired randomly,” Youssef said.
The grave lies in the southern province of Mutahanna, also home to the notorious Nigrat Salman prison camp.
Many Kurds and political opponents of the previous regime were held there, and survivors shared tales of humiliation, rape and detention of minors as part of Saddam’s 2006 trial.
Iraq has been hit by wave after wave of conflict in recent decades, culminating in the fight against the Daesh group which ended in late 2017.
Those years of conflict left grave sites all across the country where the remains of thousands of victims from Iraq’s diverse ethnic and religious communities have been uncovered.
IS alone left behind an estimated 200 mass graves that could hold up to 12,000 bodies, the United Nations has said.
Authorities are testing remains from the most recent conflict as well as wars dating back three decades in an effort to identify the fates of missing Iraqis.
According to Iraqi authorities, Saddam’s regime forcefully disappeared more than one million people in the 1980s and 1990s, and many of their families are still trying to find out what happened to them.