Mauritania investigates gifting of island to former Qatari Emir

Former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in Downing Street in 2013. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 July 2020

Mauritania investigates gifting of island to former Qatari Emir

  • The island is home to millions of migratory birds and rare species of fish
  • Mauritanian media leaked documents showing communications between Qatar’s embassy in Nouakchott with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar

DUBAI: Mauritania’s parliament is investigating its former president’s gifting of an island to former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported. 
The case is part of the corruption files which reportedly involve President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who survived a shooting in October 2012, the report said on Tuesday. 
The island is located on a coastal basin in the Atlantic Ocean and is home to millions of migratory birds and rare species of fish.
The committee, formed by the Mauritanian parliament, investigated several infrastructure deals and heard testimonies of ministers who worked with the former president. The investigation included the gifting of the island to Qatar’s Al-Thani.
Mauritanian media leaked documents showing communications between Qatar’s embassy in Nouakchott with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, discussing the “beautiful Mauritanian island” received from Abdel Aziz.
Amid the investigations, the Mauritania’s parliament was also seeking to make amendments to the law which will allow the High Court of Justice to prosecute high-ranking officials.


At least 14 civilians killed by booby traps in Egypt’s Sinai

Updated 44 min 31 sec ago

At least 14 civilians killed by booby traps in Egypt’s Sinai

  • Daesh militants in July attacked several villages in the town of Bir Al-Abd, forcing people to flee their homes
  • The militants had laid booby traps in several houses that killed at least 14 people after they returned to their homes

EL-ARISH: More than a dozen civilians, including women and children, were killed in Egypt’s restive northern Sinai Peninsula over the past two weeks from explosive devices laid down in their homes by militants, security and medical officials said Sunday.
Daesh militants in July attacked several villages in the town of Bir Al-Abd, forcing people to flee their homes. The military then secured the villages in August and allowed residents to return to their homes a few weeks later, the officials said.
The militants, however, had laid booby traps in several houses that killed at least 14 people, including six from the same family late on Saturday, officials said. The causalities included women and children.
At least ten others have been wounded since Oct. 12 and were taken to the town’s hospital for treatment, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Bir Al-Abd was the site of a horrific extremist attack on a mosque in 2017 that killed over 300 worshippers, some of them fathers praying with their young sons. The tribes of North Sinai have been heavily targeted by militants who view their veneration of Muslim saints and shrines as heretical, forcing a mass exodus of residents from the impoverished area that has long been underdeveloped by the government.
Violence and instability there intensified after the military overthrew the country’s president in 2013 amid nationwide protests against the Muslim Brotherhood group’s divisive rule. Extremist militants have since carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and minority Christians.
The conflict has largely taken place out of public view, with journalists and outside observers barred from the area. The conflict has so far not expanded into the southern end of the peninsula where popular Red Sea tourist resorts are located.
In February 2018, the military launched a massive operation in Sinai that also encompassed parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country’s western border with Libya. Since then, the pace of Daesh attacks in Sinai’s north has diminished.