11 people drowned at rocky beach in northern Egypt

he waters off Alexandria are popular in the summer, but beaches are currently closed and lifeguards off duty due to the coronavirus pandemic (AP)
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Updated 11 July 2020

11 people drowned at rocky beach in northern Egypt

  • Emergency teams were still searching for five bodies late into Friday.
  • Every year the beach sees a rash of drownings caused by strong currents and foamy water.

CAIRO: Eleven people drowned off the coast of northern Egypt, local authorities said Friday, at a beach known for its rocky jetty and fast-moving waters.
The tragedy unfolded at a beach in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, when a young boy ran into the sea and began having difficulties, said the city’s central tourism administration.
When a man from the group jumped in to rescue him, he became caught in the waters, too. Nine other people then entered the water to help, and they all died, said Maj. Gen. Jamal Rashad. It was not immediately clear if they were related.
Emergency teams recovered six bodies and were still searching for the rest late Friday.
The waters off Alexandria are popular in the summer, but beaches are currently closed and lifeguards off duty due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group went to the shore at dawn to avoid being caught by police, who try to disperse crowds and enforce antivirus restrictions at beaches in the area, authorities said.
Palm Beach has long been known for its deadly waters, local media reported. Every year it sees a rash of drownings due to its strong currents, foamy waters and rocky shore. Members of parliament have repeatedly demanded that the beach be closed to the public.
As summer temperatures in Egypt reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the accident raised concerns over water safety as people seek relief from the heat despite pandemic-related restrictions.


UN says Libyan sides sign countrywide cease-fire deal

Updated 39 min 18 sec ago

UN says Libyan sides sign countrywide cease-fire deal

  • Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east
  • Libya’s prized light crude has long featured in the country’s civil war, with rival militias and foreign powers jostling for control of Africa’s largest oil reserves

GENEVA: The United Nations said Friday that the two sides in Libyan military talks had reached a “historic achievement” with a permanent cease-fire agreement across the war-torn North African country.
After mediation this week led by UN envoy for Libya Stephanie Turco Williams, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the UN called an “important turning point toward peace and stability in Libya.”
Details were not immediately available, but the two sides were taking part in a signing ceremony in Geneva on Friday morning.
Libya is split between a UN-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east. The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers. The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
“The road to a permanent cease-fire deal was often long and difficult,” Williams, a former US State Department official, said in Arabic at the signing ceremony.
“Before us is a lot of work in the coming days and weeks in order to implement the commitments of the agreement,” she said. “It is essential to continue work as quickly as possible in order to alleviate the many problems due to this conflict facing the Libyan people.”
“We have to give people hope of a better future,” Williams added. She expressed hope the agreement will succeed “in ending the suffering of Libyans and allowing those displaced by the conflict to return to their homes.”
Ali Abushahma, the head of the delegation and a field commander for the UN-supported administration in Tripoli, said: “We have had enough suffering, enough bloodshed ... We hope we will change the suffering on all the territories of Libya, especially in the south.”
“I appeal to all Libya: Be one hand,” he said, warning about polarization by factions.
The meetings this week mark the fourth round of talks involving the Joint Military Commission under Williams’ watch. The Geneva-based military talks come ahead of a political forum in Tunisia in November. That forum aims to “generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to the holding of national elections,” the UN mission said.
On Wednesday, Williams had said the two warring factions agreed on issues that “directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people,” citing agreements to open air and land routes in the country, to work to ease inflammatory rhetoric in Libyan media, and to help kickstart Libya’s vital oil industry.
Libya’s prized light crude has long featured in the country’s civil war, with rival militias and foreign powers jostling for control of Africa’s largest oil reserves.
Last month, the two sides reached preliminary agreements to exchange prisoners and open up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory. This breakthrough also accompanied the resumption of oil production after a months-long blockade by powerful tribes allied with military commander Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the eastern-based forces.
Haftar’s forces launched an offensive in April 2019 to try and capture Tripoli, the seat of the UN-supported government in the west. But his campaign collapsed in June.
Fighting has since died down amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to Libya’s major oil export terminals.