Egypt police trap and kill top militants

This image taken on May 26, 2017 shows the bodies of victims killed by terrorists in a bus in Minya, Egypt, one of the latest in a series of terror attacks in Cairo and its environs. On Tuesday, Cairo police said they have killed two leaders of the Hasam militia in a shootout after intercepting them as they relocated to a new hideout in the capital’s outskirts. (AP file photo)
Updated 19 July 2017

Egypt police trap and kill top militants

CAIRO: Egyptian police have killed two leaders of the Hasam militia in a shootout after intercepting them as they relocated to a new hideout on Cairo’s outskirts, the government said Tuesday.
The Interior Ministry said the two militants were “prominent leaders” of the Hasam group — an extremist movement the government accuses of having links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
The militia ambushed a police convoy and killed three officers in May, in an attack the group claimed at the time and which the government has since also blamed on them.
Authorities learned that some of the group’s leaders were “about to move their equipment and weapons used in terrorist operations,” the ministry said.
They were planning to relocate to the hideout in a newly constructed area of New Cairo, outside the city’s main ring road, said the ministry.
Security forces acting on this information set up checkpoints on roads going to the area, it said in a statement.
A suspect car approached one of them before “its passengers opened fire” on police and the officers shot back, killing the two militants.
The two were identified as students aged 24 and 21 who were “among the most prominent leaders in the Hasam terrorist group,” the ministry said.
Automatic weapons
In the vehicle police found seven automatic weapons, two other firearms, a large amount of ammunition, masks and radio communications equipment.
The ministry did not say when the shootout took place, only disclosing that the group had been planning to move locations on Tuesday.
The militants who died were said to have been behind other attacks, including the May 2 ambush in which three policemen were killed and five wounded near the Cairo ring road.
The two militants that were killed carried out attacks on the orders of “their leaders who have fled abroad,” the ministry said.
The government says Hasam is linked to the Brotherhood movement. The militia has previously claimed responsibility for deadly attacks against security forces as well as assassination attempts targeting a pro-government cleric and Egypt’s deputy prosecutor general.
On Twitter, the group said on Monday it has killed 27 people from “the military occupation militias,” in reference to Egypt’s security forces, since its launch a year ago.
Egypt is also fighting an insurgency by a local affiliate of Daesh, which is based in North Sinai province.
Following deadly church bombings in April, which Daesh claimed, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency on April 10, which has been extended.


Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

Updated 29 October 2020

Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

  • A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”

BEIRUT: Lebanese negotiators laid out their claim to maritime territory on Wednesday as they began a second round of talks with Israel over their disputed sea border.
The contested zone in the Mediterranean is an estimated 860 square kilometers known as Block 9, which is rich in oil and gas. Future negotiations will also tackle the countries’ land border.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) amid tight security. An assistant of the UN special coordinator for Lebanon chaired the session, and the US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator.
A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”
The Lebanese delegation produced maps and documents to support their claim to the disputed waters.
In indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in 2012, US diplomat Frederick Hoff proposed “a middle line for the maritime borders, whereby Lebanon would get 58 percent of the disputed area and Israel would be given the remaining 42 percent, which translates to 500 square kilometers for Lebanon and 300 square kilometers for Israel.”
On the eve of Wednesday’s meeting, Lebanese and Israeli officials met to discuss a framework to resolve the conflict through the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col praised the “constructive role that both parties played in calming tensions along the Blue Line” and stressed the necessity of “taking proactive measures and making a change in the prevailing dynamics regarding tension and escalation.”