Libya’s Haftar threatens to ‘spread war’ to Algeria

Khalifa Haftar threatened to “spread” war to neighbouring Algeria. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018

Libya’s Haftar threatens to ‘spread war’ to Algeria

  • In a video Haftar says that war could be spread to the Algerian border
  • The Algerian foreign ministry has yet to respond to the commander’s threats

DUBAI: The Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar threatened to “spread” war to neighbouring Algeria if it continues to conduct regular military incursions in Libyan territory.

In a video that circulated on social media, Haftar says that “war could be spread, in moments, to the Algerian border” and that “Libyan forces are ready to go to war immediately.”

He added that Algeria “was exploiting the security situation in Libya” and accused Algeria of sending soldiers to Libya.

The Algerian foreign ministry has yet to respond to the commander’s threats, however, an Algerian source told the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that officials from the ministry held a meeting on Sunday morning to address Haftar’s statements.

According to the source, views varied on whether a response should be made in order to avert any tensions between the two neighbors given Algeria’s mediation efforts in Libya.

Meanwhile, the Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi held talks with Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi on Monday in a bid to strengthen ties.

Talks focused on efforts to organise elections in Libya and to relaunch relations with Italy.

The Libyan capital has been at the centre of a battle for influence between armed groups since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was driven from power and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.


Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

Israeli border policemen take up position during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators at a protest against Trump's decision on Jerusalem, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank March 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 January 2020

Suspected arson at East Jerusalem mosque

  • The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property

JERUSALEM: Israeli police launched a manhunt on Friday after an apparent arson attack, accompanied by Hebrew-language graffiti, at a mosque in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
“Police were summoned to a mosque in Beit Safafa, in Jerusalem, following a report of arson in one of the building’s rooms and spraying of graffiti on a nearby wall outside the building,” a police statement said.
“A wide-scale search is taking place in Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “We believe that the incident took place overnight. We are searching for suspects.”
The spokesman would not say if police viewed it as a hate crime. The graffiti, on a wall in the mosque compound and viewed by an AFP journalist, contained the name Kumi Ori, a small settlement outpost in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The Times of Israel newspaper said on Friday that the wildcat outpost “is home to seven families along with roughly a dozen extremist Israeli teens.”
“Earlier this month security forces razed a pair of illegally built settler homes in the outpost,” it reported.
All settlements on occupied Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.
The paper said: “A number of young settlers living there were involved in a string of violent attacks on Palestinians and (Israeli) security forces.”
Police said that nobody was injured in the mosque incident.
The attack had the appearance of a “price tag” attack, a euphemism for Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes that generally target Palestinian or Arab Israeli property in revenge for nationalistic attacks against Israelis or Israeli government moves against unauthorized outposts like Kumi Ori.
“This is price tag,” Israeli Arab lawmaker Osama Saadi told AFP at the scene.
“The settlers didn’t only write words, they also burned the place and they burnt a Qur’an,” said Saadi, who lives in the area.
Ismail Awwad, the local mayor, said he called the police after he found apparent evidence of arson, pointing to an empty can he said had contained petrol or some other accelerant and scorch marks in the burned room.
“The fire in the mosque burned in many straight lines which is a sign that somebody poured inflammable material,” he said.
There was damage to an interior prayer room but the building’s structure was unharmed.
In December, more than 160 cars were vandalized in the Shuafaat neighborhood of east Jerusalem with anti-Arab slogans scrawled nearby.
The slogans read “Arabs=enemies,” “There is no room in the country for enemies” and “When Jews are stabbed we aren’t silent.”
The attackers were described by a local resident as “masked settlers.”