Libya strongman’s chief of staff survives car bombing: military

File photo showing Libya’s Army chief of staff Abdul Razek Al-Nazuri inspects an honor guard as he attends the graduation of a new batch of armed forces cadets at the military academy in eastern Benghazi on Dec 18, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 18 April 2018

Libya strongman’s chief of staff survives car bombing: military

  • General Al-Nadhuri accuses “terrorist cells” of being behind his attempted assassination
  • The Libyan army chief of staff, his bodyguards, and those traveling with him were unharmed

BENGHAZI: Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s chief of staff on Wednesday survived a car bombing in the eastern city of Benghazi, according to his self-styled Libyan National Army.
General Abdelrazak Al-Nadhuri “escaped unharmed from a terrorist assassination attempt after a car bomb exploded... as his convoy passed,” the LNA said in a statement.
The explosion took place in the Sidi Khalifa district at the eastern entrance to Benghazi, the statement said.
One civilian was killed in the attack and another was wounded, a spokesman for Benghazi’s Al-Jala hospital told AFP.
Nadhuri’s spokesman Malek Al-Sharif told AFP that the chief of staff, his bodyguards and those traveling with him were unharmed.
Nadhuri later accused “terrorist cells” of being behind the attempted assassination.
“This cowardly terrorist act comes after the defeat of these terrorist groups in Benghazi,” he told the Al-Hadath news outlet.
A security official in Benghazi, Majdi Al-Orfi, told AFP that the two victims, a Syrian and a Sudanese national, were caught in the explosion. The Syrian died.
The attack comes amid a wave of rumors about the health of Haftar, who supports an administration based in the far east of Libya. He was in hospital in Paris last week after falling ill during a trip abroad.
The strongman has not many any public appearances in the past two weeks and social media has been abuzz with rumors.
After several denials, the LNA acknowledged Friday that Haftar had been hospitalized but was “in good health.”
Libya has been gripped by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.
Last summer, Hafter announced the “total liberation” of Benghazi, after a three-year campaign to seize the city from , militant extremists who had made it a stronghold following the revolution.
Haftar supports a parliament based in the east of the country, while a UN-backed unity government in the capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority nationwide, with Daesh group remain active in central and southern Libya despite being forced out of their northern stronghold Sirte in 2016.


Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

Pedestrians, wearing face masks, walk in a street of Ankara on November 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2020

Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

  • 20% of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return
  • No PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers entering the country. It is a very big mistake

ANKARA: Unofficial sources have warned that numbers of COVID-19 cases in Turkey are skyrocketing.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) estimated that daily COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 47,500, of which about 12,500 are in Istanbul. This would represent a 300 percent increase in November compared to the month before.

According to official data, however, Turkey recorded 5,103 new COVID-19 patients on Nov. 20 — the second highest new daily figure since March — and its highest daily death toll with 141 fatalities.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that 186 people died from “infectious diseases” in the city on Nov. 22 — more than the official countrywide death toll. (The Turkish health ministry is accused of classifying some COVID-related deaths as "infection-related deaths")

The TTB, whose data drew on figures from 1,270 medics in 76 provinces, claimed that someone in Turkey dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. It declared that “they have lost control of the pandemic.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms. Following this admission Turkey was put on the UK’s quarantine-on-arrival list in early October.

BACKGROUND

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms.

Reports drawing on Israeli health ministry data say that 20 percent of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, which experts consider a worryingly high figure.

Everyone arriving in Israel is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no such an obligation in Turkey.

“The countries which prove successful in managing the pandemic are those that apply strict quarantine rules and rigorously regulate arrivals in the country. But this is not the case in Turkey nowadays,” said Guner Sonmez, a radiologist from Uskudar University in Istanbul.

“Only one case can again trigger a whole chain of contagion and begin a new wave of pandemic. However, no PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers who enter the country. It is a very big mistake for managing the dynamics of the pandemic.”

Turkey recently re-introduced a partial evening curfew and restrictions on the weekends, although scientists have been urging a full 14-day lockdown.