Pompeo praises Egypt ‘freedoms’ during church and mosque visit

1 / 5
Mike Pompeo tours the newly inaugurated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque, in Egypt's New Administrative Capital. (Reuters)
2 / 5
Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan pose for photo as they tour the newly inaugurated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque. (Reuters)
3 / 5
Security waits for the departure of Mike Pompeo, after his visit to the newly inaugurated Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of the Nativity Christ, in Egypt's New Administrative Capital. (Reuters)
4 / 5
The US Secretary of State leaves the newly inaugurated Cathedral of the Nativity Christ, in Egypt's New Administrative Capital. (Reuters)
5 / 5
A member of the US Diplomatic Security takes a position as Mike Pompeo tours the newly-inaugrated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque. (AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
0

Pompeo praises Egypt ‘freedoms’ during church and mosque visit

NEW ADMINISTRATIVE CAPITAL, Egypt: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday praised Egypt’s religious freedoms as he visited a vast cathedral and a mosque in the country’s new capital east of Cairo.
Washington’s top diplomat, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, is on a tour aimed at reassuring regional US allies after Washington’s shock decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.
On Thursday evening he visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometers east of the capital.
At the mosque, he praised Egypt’s “freedoms here in this houses of worship, these big, beautiful, gorgeous buildings where the Lord is clearly at work.”
The two buildings were inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Sunday, a day after a deadly bomb blast near a church in the country where extremists have repeatedly targeted Christians.
“This is a special country where President El-Sisi clearly made a point by putting this, this largest cathedral in the Middle East here in this place,” Pompeo said, calling the building “a great symbol of hope.”
The cathedral’s inauguration was hailed by US President Donald Trump, who wrote on Twitter that he was “excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East.”
“El-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future,” Trump said.


Al-Qaeda leader killed in operation in Sabha: Libyan army

Updated 32 min 32 sec ago
0

Al-Qaeda leader killed in operation in Sabha: Libyan army

LONDON: An Al-Qaeda leader known as “Abu Talha Al-Libi” has been killed in an operation near Sabha, southern Libya, the Libyan National Army said Friday. 

“Abu Talha Al-Libi” was killed on Friday morning after a raid on a house he was sharing with other armed men in an area called Al-Qarda Al-Shati, close to Sabha in southern Libya. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced a military operation to "purge" extremists and criminal gangs from the south of the conflict-hit nation.
A spokesman for the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) said its fighters had advanced in "several regions in the south" from an airbase some 650 kilometres (400 miles) from the capital Tripoli.
The aim is to "assure security for inhabitants in the south-west from terrorists, be they the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda, as well as criminal gangs," spokesman Ahmed Al-Mesmari said.
The LNA said it was also looking to secure petroleum facilities and tackle flows of clandestine migrants heading northwards to the Mediterranean coast.
It called on armed groups in the target area, mainly made up of tribal fighters, to withdraw from military and civilian installations.
Military sources told AFP that numerous LNA units had taken up positions in recent days around the region's main city of Sabha.
Libya has been torn between rival administrations and a myriad of militias since the NATO-backed overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
Haftar supports an administration in the east of the country that is opposed to the internationally backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli.
The chaos has seen extremists and people traffickers gain a foothold in the south of the country.
Daesh has carried out repeated attacks across the country, targeting both Haftar's forces and the rival Tripoli-based authorities.