US issues security alert on Iraq amid regional tensions

Mike Pompeo recently visited Baghdad. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 May 2019

US issues security alert on Iraq amid regional tensions

  • The advisory comes at a time of rising tensions in the Middle East between the United States and Iran
  • The warning follows a surprise visit to Baghdad by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

BAGHDAD: The US Embassy in Iraq has issued a security alert, warning US citizens of “heightened tensions” in Iraq and advising against travel there.
The advisory warning was posted on Twitter on Sunday night. It comes at a time of rising tensions in the Middle East between the United States and Iran.
The warning follows a surprise visit to Baghdad by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo which he said was aimed at demonstrating US support for the Iraqi government, as the US says it has been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East.
During his visit, Pompeo also said he wanted to underscore Iraq’s need to protect Americans in the country.


Death of Algerian girl in ‘faith healing’ sparks outcry

Updated 30 May 2020

Death of Algerian girl in ‘faith healing’ sparks outcry

  • According to the prosecutor’s statement, cited by local media, the girl died after being taken to hospital in Guelma
  • The public prosecutor ordered an autopsy and an investigation into the child’s death, the statement said

ALGIERS: A ten-year-old girl who died in eastern Algeria while undergoing faith healing appeared to suffer “blows and burns,” a prosecutor said, sparking angry reactions online after the arrest of a man.
The public prosecutor in Guelma, 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of the capital Algiers, announced a 28-year-old man had been arrested on Thursday after the death of the girl “who was abused during a Ruqya (faith healing) to which she was subjected in her family home.”
The prosecutor did not disclose why the girl was subjected to the Ruqya, a practice often performed with the intention of treating the sick, “driving out a demon,” providing protection from “the evil eye” or curing infertility.
According to the prosecutor’s statement, cited by local media, the girl died after being taken to hospital in Guelma.
“The girl’s body bore signs of blows and burns,” the statement said.
The public prosecutor ordered an autopsy and an investigation into the child’s death, the statement said.
While faith healing is permitted in Islam because it is performed using the word of God — through recitation of the Qur’an — many note the practice can lead to abuse, particularly of those with mental health issues.
Algerians took to social media in fury over the death of the girl in a “torture session” at the hands of an “executioner,” with many also decrying a lack of media coverage of the tragedy.
“Are we going to pretend for a long time not to see... the 10-year-old girl tortured and killed...?” asked journalist Akram Kharief, the director of the MENA Defense website, on his Facebook page.