Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages

Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages
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Bystanders watch as Moroccan emergency teams work to rescue five-year-old boy Rayan from a well shaft he fell into on February 1, in the remote village of Ighrane in the rural northern province of Chefchaouen on February 4, 2022. (AFP)
Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages
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Moroccan authorities and firefighters work to get five-year-old child Rayan out of a well into which he fell after 48 hours earlier, on Thursday in the region of Chefchaouen near the city of Bab Berred. (AP)
Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages
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Moroccan authorities and firefighters work to get five-year-old child Rayan out of a well into which he fell after 48 hours earlier, on Thursday in the region of Chefchaouen near the city of Bab Berred. (AP)
Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages
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Moroccan rescue teams work to get five-year-old child Rayan out of a well into which he fell after 48 hours earlier, on Thursday in the region of Chefchaouen near the city of Bab Berred. (AP)
Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages
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Moroccan authorities and firefighters work to get five-year-old child Rayan out of a well into which he fell after 48 hours earlier, on Thursday in the region of Chefchaouen near the city of Bab Berred. (AFP)
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Updated 06 February 2022

Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages

Morocco bid to free Rayan, 5, from well reaches nerve-wracking final stages
  • Little Rayan fell down the well on Tuesday evening
  • As rescuers dig, Rayan is being supplied with food and oxygen

DUBAI: Moroccan rescuers were only meters away Saturday in their nerve-wracking but increasingly urgent effort to rescue Rayan, a five-year-old boy trapped underground whom they hope to find alive.

For five days the complex and risky earth-moving operation has gripped residents of the North African kingdom and even sparked sympathy in neighboring Algeria, a regional rival.

Abdelhadi Tamrani, an official in charge of the operation, said he had “big hopes” of pulling the boy out alive from the well.

But the more time that passes, the more fears arise over his condition.

Rayan accidentally fell about 32 meters (35 yards) down the tight, empty shaft near his home in the remote village of Ighrane in Chefchaouen province on Tuesday afternoon.




Moroccan authorities and Moroccan civil defense members work to rescue five-year-old child Rayan trapped in a deep well for over two days in the northern province of Chefchaouen near Bab Berred on February 3, 2022. (File/AFP)

Rescue crews, using bulldozers and front-end loaders, excavated the surrounding red earth down to the level where the boy is trapped and are now digging horizontally toward him.

They face a risk of landslides, and on Saturday they had to maneuver around a large rock.

In darkness, crews moved a heavy pipe into position in the area. One rescuer lugged what appeared to be a jackhammer.

“We’re almost there,” said one of the operation’s leaders, Abdesalam Makoudi, adding “tiredness is kicking in, but the whole rescue team is hanging on.”




Little Rayan fell down the well on Tuesday evening. (Twitter user)

According to Al Arabiya news channel the only way to reach the boy is by digging a hole and pulling him from the opposite side of the well through which he fell.  

Abdel Hadi Tamrani, head of Civil Protection on site, told Arab News that due to the crumbling of the earth around the shaft, teams are forced to take a break from time to time.

“The more we dig the greater the risk of crumbling, so to ensure the safety of the excavator operators, we have to take breaks at times,” he said.

“It is a very sensitive operation, we are in the process of securing the lower part of the cavity before sending a special team which will aim to dig a hole about 4 meters horizontally, to reach the location where Rayan is.

“The main challenge we have now is not to put the lives of our teams at risk.”




Teams using machinery to excavate the ground in order to free the boy. (Reuters via Al3omk.com)

When asked about his condition, Tamrani said Rayan was not eatring or drinking and might have fallen into a coma, but “still had hope he is alive,” adding that a Royal Armed Forces helicopter was available to transport the child as quickly as possible to the nearest medical unit.

Recalling the events of Tuesday evening, Rayan’s mother told local media she had looked for him everywhere after his disappearance. 

“When I did not find him, I understood that he had fallen into the well located near the house,” she said.

The young child's father told Al-Arabiya that the last time he saw Rayan through surveillance cameras was Thursday afternoon.

People have taken to social media platforms expressing their support.

Moroccan footballer and PSG star Achraf Hakimi posted his support, alongside emojis of a broken heart and hands together in prayer.

“I want everyone to pray for this little five-year-old boy who fell into a very deep well and is still fighting to stay alive for 48 hours. Our heart is with him,” a twitter user said.

Another twitter user said: “Don’t worry Rayan. Angels is with you and Allah with you and all the world is with you. We love you we waiting to see you.”

Rescue worker Imad Fahmi told local media that he was able to go down 25 meters into the well but could not continue. 

“As for little Ryan, I tried to talk to him to get his reaction, but I only heard his breathing and his cries of distress, as if he was suffering from an injury. He was 10-12 meters from me, but the space was very tight. I tried to dig with my feet to reach it, but to no avail. At one point I couldn’t go any further,” he added.

Lead rescuer Abdelhabi Temrani told Al Oula television that the diameter of the well was less than 45 centimeters.

Baitas said the nature of the soil meant it was too dangerous to try to widen the hole, meaning major excavations around it were the only solution.


Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change
Updated 9 sec ago

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

CAIRO: In his capacity as president-designate of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, Egypt’s foreign minister delivered a speech via video at the opening of a Caribbean regional meeting on climate change, hosted by the Bahamas.

Sameh Shoukry presented Egypt’s vision for the UN conference and the most prominent topics on its agenda.

He stressed the importance of shifting from promises to implementation, and of mobilizing the necessary support for global climate action.

Shoukry highlighted the need to support developing countries, including island nations, against the repercussions of climate change.

Before participating in the meeting, he held a video conference call with the Bahamas’ Prime Minister Philip Davis.


Syria denies it is holding American journalist Austin Tice

Syria denies it is holding American journalist Austin Tice
Updated 11 min 4 sec ago

Syria denies it is holding American journalist Austin Tice

Syria denies it is holding American journalist Austin Tice
  • US is certain Tice is being held by the government of President Bashar Assad

DAMASCUS: Syria denied on Wednesday it is holding US journalist Austin Tice or other Americans after President Joe Biden accused the Syrian government of detaining him.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Damascus “denies it had kidnapped or is holding any American citizen on its territories.”
Biden’s comments last week came in a statement released by the White House to mark the 10th anniversary of Tice’s abduction, which took place when he was in Syria covering its lengthy conflict. Biden’s remarks were the clearest indication so far that the US is certain Tice is being held by the government of President Bashar Assad.
Tice went missing shortly after his 31st birthday on Aug. 14, 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested area west of the capital Damascus. A video released a month later showed him blindfolded and held by armed men, saying “Oh, Jesus.” He has not been heard from since.


Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report
Updated 58 min 19 sec ago

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

CAIRO: Egypt will release 25 pretrial detainees pending investigations on Wednesday, according to a member of the Presidential Pardon Committee. 

The group of pretrial detainees are to be released within around 24 hours, said Tarek El-Kholy, as quoted by Ahlam Online.   

This will be the latest batch of pretrial detainees released pending investigations.

The Presidential Pardon Committee is mandated to review the cases of pretrial detainees for political crimes.

El-Kholy previously noted in an interview with The Africa Report that only individuals who have not participated in violent acts or killed military personnel or civilians will be considered for pardon.  

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi re-affirmed on several occasions that Egypt holds no political prisoners and that the government promotes respect for human rights.


Attacks on Iranian clerics, fueled by public anger, on the rise: Report

Attacks on Iranian clerics, fueled by public anger, on the rise: Report
Updated 17 August 2022

Attacks on Iranian clerics, fueled by public anger, on the rise: Report

Attacks on Iranian clerics, fueled by public anger, on the rise: Report
  • Attacks on Iranian clerics have been fueled by public disdain over suffocating restrictions on public life and the dire economic conditions

Attacks on Iranian clerics, fueled by public disdain over suffocating restrictions on public life and the dire economic conditions, have been on the rise in Iran in recent years, according to Iranian daily Radio Farda. 

Iran has reported several incidents of physical attacks of clerics, with many religious officials saying they no longer wear their robes or turbans in public to avoid being targeted, Radio Farda reported. 

Two-dozen clerics were violently attacked in the past decade, out of which three were killed and two were blinded, according to Radio Farda. 

Recent attacks have also targeted low-level clerics who have attempted to enforce strict religious codes in public such as the hijab rule, the report added. 

Many Iranians can no longer tolerate clerics who impose “their reactionary lifestyle on others,” Radio Farda cited Tehran-based dissident cleric Abolfazl Najafi-Tehrani as saying. 

“In recent years, we have witnessed people’s hatred and anger towards particularly those clerics who follow state policies,” Najafi-Tehrani said, adding that a governing system based on religion and its interference in the daily lives of people has sparked resentment towards the religious officials. 

According to the report, Iranians are also angry over the fact that a large sum of the state’s budget continues to be spent on seminaries – despite crippling US sanctions that have plunged hundreds in the country into poverty. 

Countrywide protests are proof that Iranians “demand the withdrawal of the clerics and the noninterference of religion and religious representatives in the state,” Najafi-Tehrani said. 


Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president’s Holocaust remarks

Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president’s Holocaust remarks
Updated 17 August 2022

Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president’s Holocaust remarks

Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president’s Holocaust remarks
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of committing ‘50 Holocausts’
  • His comment followed months of tension and a brief conflict this month during which 49 people were killed in Gaza

BERLIN/JERUSALEM: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced disgust on Wednesday at remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said diminished the importance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of telling a “monstrous lie.”
“For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,” Scholz tweeted on Wednesday. “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”
During a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Abbas accused Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” in response to a question about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics by Palestinian militants.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid also condemned the comments as a “disgrace.”
“Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie,” Lapid said on Twitter.
“History will never forgive him.”
Six million Jews were killed in Nazi Germany’s Holocaust.
Standing alongside Scholz, Abbas referred to a series of historical incidents in which Palestinians were killed by Israelis in the 1948 war that accompanied the creation of the state of Israel and in the years following.
“From 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and cities, in Deir Yassin, Tantura, Kafr Qasim and many others, 50 massacres, 50 Holocausts,” said Abbas.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa did not include the Holocaust comments in its report of the meeting with Scholz, and the Palestinian foreign ministry said Lapid’s comments were intended to divert attention from Israel’s “crimes.”
In a statement, the ministry said “the occupying power is not satisfied with committing these crimes on a daily and continuous basis, but also does not tolerate and rejects any talk or statements that remind the Israelis and the international community of the many crimes committed by Israel.”
Abbas’ comment followed months of tension and a brief conflict this month during which 49 people were killed in Gaza after Israel carried out a series of air strikes in response to what it said was an imminent threat from the militant Islamic Jihad group, which fired over 1,000 rockets in response.
Dozens of Palestinians have also been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank, while there have been a number of attacks on Israelis, including an incident on Sunday when eight people were wounded on a bus carrying Jewish worshippers in Jerusalem.
Palestinians seek statehood in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Negotiations have been frozen since 2014.