World leaders, celebrities and artists mourn death of Moroccan child Rayan

World leaders, celebrities and artists mourn death of Moroccan child Rayan
Artists expressed their solidarity with Rayan’s family by sharing emotive art his tragic story. (Social media)
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Updated 07 February 2022

World leaders, celebrities and artists mourn death of Moroccan child Rayan

World leaders, celebrities and artists mourn death of Moroccan child Rayan
  • Artists expressed their solidarity with Rayan’s family by sharing emotive art of the child and his tragic story
  • “You were the bravest boy and your name will never be forgotten,” a board at a London Underground station said

LONDON: Since the announcement of the death of Rayan, the five-year-old boy who fell into a well in Morocco, world leaders, celebrities and artists have taken to social media to mourn his death.

Leaders including Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, French President Emmanuel Macron, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took to social media to pay condolences to the boy’s family.

“Our hearts broke last night,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in a condolence message to King Mohammed VI, while French President Emmanuel Macron said to Rayan's family and the Moroccan people: “We share your pain.”

Pope Francis described the efforts to save Rayan as “beautiful.” He expressed thanks to the Moroccan people as he greeted the public in St. Peter’s Square. He praised people for “putting their all” into trying to save the child.

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb expressed his condolences to the boy’s family and said that the Al-Azhar Mosque is mourning Rayan’s death.

Chairman of the General Authority for Entertainment in Saudi Arabia Turki Al-Sheikh also expressed his condolences.

He shared a drawing of the child with angel wings and extended his condolences to “Rayan’s family and the honorable Moroccan people.”

Other famous personalities included Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram, Yemeni-Emirati singer Balquees Fathi, Emirati composer Hussain Al-Jassmi, retired Egyptian footballer Mohamed Aboutrika and AC Milan's Algerian midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas said that Saturday was “a sad night for humanity.”

The famous London Underground Twitter page, All On The Board, also joined global tributes to Rayan.

“You were the bravest boy and your name will never be forgotten,” a board at an unknown London Underground station stated.

The Moroccan royal palace announced Rayan’s death on Saturday after he was pulled out of the 32-meter well by rescuers following a lengthy operation that captivated global attention.

On Tuesday, Rayan fell into the well, located outside his home in the village of Ighran in Morocco’s mountainous northern province of Chefchaouen.

The hilly region around Chefchaouen is bitterly cold in winter and rescuers attempted to keep the boy alive by lowering food, water and oxygen through a tube.

They worked round the clock cutting a massive trench through the hillside, then tunneling horizontally towards Rayan, with a constant risk of triggering landslides.

They were eventually able to access the well late on Saturday, and carried his body to a waiting ambulance.

Sadly, he had died before being reached by rescuers.

Artists have also expressed their solidarity with Rayan’s family by sharing emotive art of the child and his tragic story that gripped the world. Some of these can be seen below:

 


France repatriates 35 children, 16 mothers from Syria camps

France repatriates 35 children, 16 mothers from Syria camps
Updated 54 min 23 sec ago

France repatriates 35 children, 16 mothers from Syria camps

France repatriates 35 children, 16 mothers from Syria camps
  • Minors were handed over to child protection services while the mothers would face judicial proceedings

PARIS: France has repatriated 35 children and 16 mothers from camps in Syria where family members of suspected Daesh terrorists have been held, the foreign ministry said in Paris.
“France has today undertaken the return to the country of 35 French minors who were in camps in northeast Syria. This operation also includes the return of 16 mothers from these same camps,” a statement said, adding that the minors were handed over to child protection services while the mothers would face judicial proceedings.


Israeli PM to press France on Iran, warn Hezbollah ‘playing with fire’

Israeli PM to press France on Iran, warn Hezbollah ‘playing with fire’
Updated 05 July 2022

Israeli PM to press France on Iran, warn Hezbollah ‘playing with fire’

Israeli PM to press France on Iran, warn Hezbollah ‘playing with fire’
  • France is among world powers trying to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran
  • Iran has itself been in breach of the deal, ramping up projects with bomb-making potential

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid will press French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday for a tougher and time-limited tack on the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and warn that the Tehran-backed Hezbollah group is “playing with fire,” an official said.
Lapid’s visit to France, his first abroad since becoming caretaker premier last week, is also a chance to flex diplomatic muscles as Israelis gear up for a snap election in November.
France is among world powers trying to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that the previous US administration quit and which Israel opposed, deeming its caps insufficient.
As Lebanon’s former colonial administrator, France has additional clout in Beirut — whose economic crisis-hit leaders were jarred on Saturday when Israel shot down three Hezbollah drones launched toward one of its Mediterranean gas rigs.
“The French are very, very active on the Iranian issue,” a senior Israeli official told reporters.
“It is important for us to make our case ... Israel opposes a return to the JCPOA (2015 nuclear deal). In the same breath, we do not oppose a deal. We seek a very strong deal.”
Israel is not a party to the nuclear negotiations. But Western capitals have been attentive to its worries about its arch-enemy and worried it might take preemptive military action if it deems diplomacy a dead end.
Since the US walkout, Iran has itself been in breach of the deal, ramping up projects with bomb-making potential — though it denies having such designs. Its technical advancements have set a ticking clock on the so-far fruitless negotiations.
“We want an end to the unending talks,” said the senior Israeli official, calling for “coordinated pressure” on Iran and offering help on “drafting an appropriate framework” for that.
Israel has de facto front with Iran in Lebanon, home to Hezbollah. The senior Israeli official, alluding to Saturday’s shoot-downs, accused the group of “playing with fire.”
The official declined to elaborate on that warning, but said Lapid would share with Macron “new material explaining how Hezbollah is endangering Lebanon.”
Hezbollah and Israel fought a war across Lebanon’s border in 2006 but have been in a largely stable standoff since.
The Karish rig near Lebanon’s coast will produce gas not only for Israel, but eventually also for the European Union, the official said, tapping into EU countries’ quest to replace Russia as an energy supplier since it invaded Ukraine.


Egypt FM in London to inaugurate partnership council

Egypt FM in London to inaugurate partnership council
Updated 04 July 2022

Egypt FM in London to inaugurate partnership council

Egypt FM in London to inaugurate partnership council

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed to London to inaugurate the first partnership council between his country and the UK.

The council will be co-chaired by Shoukry and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. It will include political consultations and discussions on economic and trade issues, with the participation of British Trade Policy Minister Penny Mordaunt.

A spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the launch of the council comes in light of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

While in London, Shoukry met with Lord Tariq Ahmad, British minister for South Asia, North Africa, the UN and the Commonwealth, to discuss bilateral relations.


Woman stabbed by husband in front of court in Jordan

Woman stabbed by husband in front of court in Jordan
Updated 04 July 2022

Woman stabbed by husband in front of court in Jordan

Woman stabbed by husband in front of court in Jordan
  • The woman, who was rushed to the hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit, was listed in fair condition.

AMMAN: A woman was stabbed by her husband in a public street in Karak in front of the Karak Sharia Court on Monday, according to a Jordanian security source.

The unidentified man pulled out a knife and stabbed his wife in the back, chest and right hand, according to a source at Al Karak Public Hospital.

She was rushed to the hospital shortly after and admitted to the intensive care unit. She was described as in fair condition.

The attacker has since been apprehended, and police are currently investigating the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, family disputes between the couple led them to review the case at Sharia court before the situation escalated and the husband attacked the victim.

Following the death of 18-year-old Iman Ersheid, who was shot dead on campus, public outrage in Jordan has fueled calls for the death penalty to be enforced in such cases.

Last week, the High Criminal Court in Jordan sentenced a 50-year-old to death for stabbing his ex-wife before the Northern "Rusaifa" Sharia Court in a similar incident.


US offers cash rewards to curb Iran smuggling

US offers cash rewards to curb Iran smuggling
Updated 05 July 2022

US offers cash rewards to curb Iran smuggling

US offers cash rewards to curb Iran smuggling
  • Navy targets weapons and drugs in Arabian Gulf and Red Sea

JEDDAH: The US Navy is offering cash rewards of up to $100,000 for information leading to the interception of smuggled weapons and narcotics in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea.

The initiative by the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet does not directly name Iran but analysts said it was clearly aimed at curbing the flow of Iranian arms to the Houthi militia in Yemen and restricting the lucrative regional drugs trade operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“Any destabilizing activity has our attention,” 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins said. “Definitely we have seen in the last year skyrocketing success in seizing both illegal narcotics and illicit weapons. This represents another step in our effort to enhance regional maritime security.”
Operators fluent in Arabic, English and Farsi will staff a phone hotline, and the Navy will also take tips online in Dari and Pashto. Payouts can be as high as $100,000 or the equivalent in vehicles, boats or food for tips that include information on planned attacks targeting Americans.
Asked whether new seizures could increase tensions with Iran, Hawkins listed the weapons and drugs the Navy hoped to intercept under the program. “That’s what we’re after,” he said. “That’s not in the interest of regional stability and security.”

Opinion

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The fleet and its allies seized $500 million in drugs alone in 2021, more than the four previous years combined, and intercepted the shipment of 9,000 weapons, three times the number in 2020.
Despite a UN Security Council arms embargo on Yemen, Tehran has long been transferring rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other weapons to the Houthis in Yemen. UN experts have examined missiles aimed at civilian targets and oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and traced the components back to Iran.
The rewards program is the latest initiative under 5th Fleet Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, who also launched a drone task force last year amid rising tension with Iran. The US Navy and Revolutionary Guard naval forces have had several encounters in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Houthis said last week they were monitoring increased US activity in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.“Because of this, defense and confrontation options are open,” a spokesman said.