Libya election body rejects Qaddafi son’s presidential bid

Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar, attends a hearing behind bars in a courtroom in Zintan, Libya. (Reuters/File Photo)
Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar, attends a hearing behind bars in a courtroom in Zintan, Libya. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 24 November 2021

Libya election body rejects Qaddafi son’s presidential bid

Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar, attends a hearing behind bars in a courtroom in Zintan, Libya. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Seif Al-Islam had been sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2017 for crimes committed during the revolt that toppled his father

TRIPOLI: Libya’s electoral commission on Wednesday announced its rejection of the candidacy of Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi, a son of slain dictator Muammar Qaddafi, to run in next month’s presidential election.
Wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, Seif Al-Islam, who registered to run on November 14, was among 25 candidates whose bids have been rejected, the HNEC commission said in a statement.
It said it rejected the 25 on legal grounds as well as based on information from officials including the public prosecutor, a police chief and the head of the passports and citizenship department.
In a surprise announcement, Seif, whose whereabouts had been kept secret for several months, became the first heavyweight candidate to sign up for the election race.
He had been sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2017 for crimes committed during the revolt that toppled his father. He was later pardoned by a rival administration in eastern Libya.
In July, he emerged from years in the shadows and told The New York Times he was planning a political comeback.
In a rare interview, Seif said he wanted to “restore the lost unity” of Libya after a decade of chaos.
Libya’s electoral commission said Tuesday that a total of 98 candidates, including two women, had registered to run in the presidential election scheduled for December 24.
The polls come as Libya seeks to turn a page on a decade of violence that has rocked the oil-rich nation since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed Qaddafi in 2011.


Israel announces completion of security barrier around Gaza

Israel announces completion of security barrier around Gaza
Updated 8 sec ago

Israel announces completion of security barrier around Gaza

Israel announces completion of security barrier around Gaza
  • The 65-kilometer barrier includes radar systems, maritime sensors and a network of underground sensors to detect militant tunnels
  • Israel has fought four wars with Hamas since it seized power in Gaza nearly 15 years ago, most recently in May
JERUSALEM: Israel on Tuesday announced the completion of an enhanced security barrier around the Gaza Strip designed.

The 65-kilometer (40-mile) barrier includes radar systems, maritime sensors and a network of underground sensors to detect militant tunnels.

Existing fencing was replaced with a 6-meter (6.5-yard) high “smart fence” with sensors and cameras.

Israel has fought four wars with Hamas since it seized power in Gaza nearly 15 years ago, most recently in May.

During a 2014 war, Palestinian fighters tunneled into Israel and clashed with Israeli troops.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the completion of the barrier after more than three years of construction, saying it places an “iron wall” between Hamas and residents of southern Israel.

During May’s fighting, Hamas used a sophisticated tunnel system within Gaza but did not infiltrate fighters into Israel. The group fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel in 11 days, with large volleys that occasionally overwhelmed Israel’s sophisticated missile defenses.

Israel carried out hundreds of airstrikes during the conflict and brought down several multistory buildings. The war killed over 250 people in Gaza, including at least 129 civilians, according to the UN, while 13 people died on the Israeli side.

Since Hamas seized power, Israel and Egypt have imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza that has severely restricted travel for the territory’s 2 million Palestinian residents and strangled the economy.

Israel says the closures are needed to prevent Hamas from expanding its military capabilities, while the Palestinians and rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment.

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas organized violent mass protests along the frontier in order to pressure Israel to ease the blockade. More than 200 Palestinians were killed and thousands were wounded. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Rights groups recently accused Israel of failing to hold its forces accountable for the deaths and serious injuries.

Israel says its forces prevented the mass infiltration of Hamas operatives. It says allegations of wrongdoing were fully investigated and soldiers were held to account.

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM
Updated 07 December 2021

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM
  • Egypt has started locally producing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for exporting surpluses to African countries
  • FM Shoukry handed a letter to Senegalese President Macky Sall from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties

CAIRO: Egypt will spare no effort to help African states recover from the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at the seventh session of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.

Egypt has started locally producing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for exporting surpluses to African countries.

Shoukry said the pandemic has impeded efforts to achieve peace and stability on the continent, and has exacerbated humanitarian crises.

It has become impossible to deal with the pandemic solely as a global health crisis, as it has affected all aspects of life, he added. 

Shoukry highlighted issues that Africa should prioritize, including developing a common vision to address shortcomings in the continent’s medical infrastructure, such as dependence on foreign medicines and vaccines.

He also noted the importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism and armed conflicts in Africa by rebuilding societies that have suffered from the scourge of war and conflict.

He praised the selection of Senegal for the African Union presidency from February 2022, and expressed Cairo’s readiness to provide all forms of support to the country in light of Egypt’s experience as president of the bloc in 2019.

Shoukry handed a letter to Senegalese President Macky Sall from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties, as well as issues of common concern.


Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise
Updated 07 December 2021

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise
  • Friendship Bridge 4 is part of Egypt’s plan to carry out joint military training with friendly countries

CAIRO: The Egyptian and Russian navies have launched the joint exercise Friendship Bridge 4, which will last for several days in the Mediterranean.

It began with a ceremony welcoming Russian forces at the Alexandria Naval Base in the presence of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed, who delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries’ navies.

Friendship Bridge 4 is part of Egypt’s plan to carry out joint military training with friendly countries.

 Meanwhile, the armed forces of Egypt and Jordan concluded their joint exercise Aqaba-6. The training, which took place in Jordan, included a joint operation to eliminate an armed terrorist outpost inside a border village, and the interception of a merchant ship.


Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation
Updated 07 December 2021

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation
  • A Beirut court rejected the last of the suits preventing Tarek Bitar from questioning top officials

BEIRUT: The probe into last year’s deadly Beirut port blast has been cleared to resume after being suspended for more than a month on legal claims against its lead investigator, judge Tarek Bitar, a judicial source said.
A Beirut court rejected the last of the suits preventing Bitar from questioning top officials on Tuesday.
“They have reversed the decision that had led to the suspension of the probe and he can now resume his work for sure,” Nizar Saghieh, head of the Legal Agenda, a research and advocacy organization, told Reuters.
The resumption could be temporary should further legal complaints be filed, he said.
The investigation into the Aug. 4, 2020, blast that killed more than 215 people, injured thousands and destroyed large swathes of the city has made little headway amid pushback from powerful factions, some of whom lead smear campaigns and filed multiple suits against Bitar.
The leader of the Iranian-backed, armed Shiite Muslim political movement Hezbollah has repeatedly said he wanted Bitar removed from the case and the row over him has spilled over into government, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet unable to meet since Oct. 12.
Many Lebanese are angry that more than one year on from the blast no senior official has been held accountable for the country’s worst peace-time disaster as it slips into political and economic meltdown.
Bitar has sought to question senior politicians, including former ministers and members of parliament, since July but nearly all have spurned him.
He is the second judge to take charge of the investigation after a legal complaint against the partiality of his predecessor Fady Sawan saw him removed in February.


Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4
Updated 07 December 2021

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

BASRA: At least four people were killed and 20 wounded in an explosion in Iraq's southern city of Basra, police and hospital sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Police are still investigating the cause of the blast, which took place in the city centre, near a main hospital. The explosion set fire to at least one vehicle and damaged a minibus.
One police source said that an initial investigation showed that a motorcycle rigged with explosives could have been the cause of the blast.