Lebanon mourns as more victims of boat capsize recovered from sea

Special A man cries as he carries the body of a young girl during the funeral procession for seven people killed when a boat packed with migrants sunk over the weekend. (AP)
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A man cries as he carries the body of a young girl during the funeral procession for seven people killed when a boat packed with migrants sunk over the weekend. (AP)
Special People stand near stretchers that are prepared for dead bodies after a boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, at port of Tripoli, northern Lebanon April 24, 2022. (Reuters)
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People stand near stretchers that are prepared for dead bodies after a boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, at port of Tripoli, northern Lebanon April 24, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 April 2022

Lebanon mourns as more victims of boat capsize recovered from sea

A man cries as he carries the body of a young girl during the funeral procession for seven people killed when a boat packed with migrants sunk over the weekend. (AP)
  • Around 84 people on board when vessel capsized off Tripoli
  • Public anger comes ahead of May 15 parliamentary elections

BEIRUT: Funerals were held on Monday in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli for those who died after the boat they were onboard capsized and sank.

The Lebanese flag flew at half-mast over the Lebanese Presidential Palace on Monday in mourning for the victims, with President Michel Aoun following up on the work of specialist military and security forces in their search for the missing passengers and the course of the investigation to uncover the circumstances and establish responsibility for the incident.

Commercial establishments in Tripoli closed their doors to mourn the victims.

The UNHCR estimated there were 84 passengers on board the vessel when it capsized 5.5 km off the coast of Tripoli. The number of missing people is around 30, and there are no more than 45 survivors.

Rescue teams searched the Mediterranean for survivors after the overloaded boat capsized while being pursued by naval forces.

On Monday morning, they found two bodies on the beach in Tripoli. One was Khadija Al-Nimri. The other was Amir Kaddour.




People stand near stretchers that are prepared for dead bodies after a boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, at port of Tripoli, northern Lebanon April 24, 2022. (Reuters)

A hospital issued a call to anyone who knew Sarah Ahmed Talib to come forward to identify and receive her body.

Another victim was 25-year-old Mohammed Talib, who drowned three days after his engagement.

Most of those on board were families from Tripoli and the passengers were said to include Syrians and Palestinians.

They were sailing to Italy in search of a decent life.

Two of the victims —  18-month-old Taleen Mohammed Al-Hamwi and her mother Duha — were buried in Tripoli amid scenes of deep sorrow and heavy gunfire.

But there was calm in Tripoli’s neighborhoods following the heightened emotions of Sunday, when protesters attacked army checkpoints and outposts after it brought in reinforcements and strengthened its presence in the city.

The anger comes ahead of parliamentary elections on May 15 and against a backdrop of economic turmoil and deteriorating living conditions.

Protesters removed pictures of election candidates from the walls of the city, which has some of Lebanon's most impoverished neighborhoods, with people also targeting politicians in Beirut and further afield.

Protesters chased Energy Minister Walid Fayyad in the capital, pushing him against a wall and slapping him. The assault was filmed.  

“How dare you go out while people are still drowning in the sea? It's time to wake up,” they demanded to know.

Fayyad's office described his assailants as “a well-known group of saboteurs whose moral degeneration reached the point where they treacherously (and) physically assaulted the minister in the middle of the street.”

His office said the minister had decided “to personally prosecute everyone who incited, monitored, planned, and contributed to the attack.”

On social media, Lebanese activists posted a picture of Prime Minister Najib Mikati's yacht anchored in the French city of Nice.

The yacht is 79 meters long and valued at $100 million.

A sign raised in front of the yacht read in Arabic and French: “The people of Tripoli were assassinated by the owner of this yacht.”

While the Lebanese were dealing with the repercussions of the boat tragedy, UN peacekeepers were investigating rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel that prompted Israeli retaliation.

A Grad missile was fired on Sunday night from the Ras Al-Ain-Qlaileh area, south of Tyre, toward Israel.

Despite the Israeli side’s assertion that the missile “fell in an open area, and the warnings were not activated,” Lebanese Army Command said the border areas south of Tayr Harfa, Wadi Hamoul, Alma Al-Shaab, and the outskirts of the town of Zebqin were hit by Israeli artillery. No injuries or damage was reported.

The area was targeted by about 50 artillery shells.

Israel also fired about 40 flare bombs over the towns of Tayr Harfa, Naqoura, Shihin, and Bidias.

According to a statement by Army Command on Monday, an army unit found two 122mm Grad rockets installed on aluminum slings ready for launch. These were disabled by specialist units.

The breach was followed up in coordination with UNIFIL, which announced detecting "the firing of a missile from southern Lebanon toward Israel.”

The UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Maj. Gen. Aroldo Lazaro immediately contacted authorities on both sides of the Blue Line and urged them to exercise restraint.

But the Israeli army responded by firing dozens of shells into Lebanon.

Lazaro called on all parties to avoid further escalation, expressing concern over the “disproportionate response.”

UNIFIL said it had opened an investigation and called on both sides to exercise restraint.


Turkish troops, Kurdish fighters exchange heavy shelling in Syria’s Kobani

Turkish troops, Kurdish fighters exchange heavy shelling in Syria’s Kobani
Updated 7 sec ago

Turkish troops, Kurdish fighters exchange heavy shelling in Syria’s Kobani

Turkish troops, Kurdish fighters exchange heavy shelling in Syria’s Kobani
  • Artillery fire hit within the town and around its edges, starting overnight and intensifying throughout the day
BEIRUT: Turkish troops and US-backed Kurdish fighters exchanged heavy shellfire on Tuesday in the northern Syrian border town of Kobani, leaving one civilian dead as the conflict between the warring parties escalated.
The artillery fire hit within the town and around its edges, starting overnight and intensifying throughout the day, according to residents and the semi-autonomous local administration governing the town.
The administration said in an online statement that at least one child died due to the shelling and others were wounded.
Ankara sees the semi-autonomous system — spearheaded by Kurdish factions and governing swathes of northern and eastern Syria — as a national security threat on its border.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged a new incursion to create a 30-kilometer safe zone in northern Syria, swallowing up Kobani and other towns held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
Kobani has been relatively calm since US-backed Kurdish fighters pushed back Daesh fighters from the town in 2015.
But shelling and drone attacks have been ramping up in many border towns. At least three Kurdish commanders were killed last month which the SDF blamed on Ankara.
Dilvin, a shopkeeper and married mother of one, said scenes of chaos broke out in Kobani when the shelling intensified on Tuesday.
“People started running everywhere, cars everywhere, people asking about their friends and their family. Then the sounds started to build, the sounds were everywhere,” she told Reuters by phone from Kobani.
“There was so much screaming. So much fear. Now everyone is locked up at home,” said Dilvin, who preferred to identify herself with just a first name for security reasons.

Tunisia’s defense minister visits soldiers wounded in Mount Salloum clashes

Tunisia’s defense minister visits soldiers wounded in Mount Salloum clashes
Updated 16 August 2022

Tunisia’s defense minister visits soldiers wounded in Mount Salloum clashes

Tunisia’s defense minister visits soldiers wounded in Mount Salloum clashes
  • 2 soldiers were wounded in last Friday’s clashes between army units and terrorists

DUBAI: Tunisia’s minister of defense, Imed Memmiche, visited two soldiers who were wounded in last Friday’s clashes between army units and terrorists in Mount Salloum in Kasserine. 
 
Memmiche went to the Tunis military hospital on Monday to commend the men for their ‘patriotism and sense of duty’, according to the Ministry of Defense’s statement released on state news agency TAP.


UAE’s Dar Al Ber Society donates over $56m on global, local aid projects in 20222

UAE’s Dar Al Ber Society donates over $56m on global, local aid projects in 20222
Updated 16 August 2022

UAE’s Dar Al Ber Society donates over $56m on global, local aid projects in 20222

UAE’s Dar Al Ber Society donates over $56m on global, local aid projects in 20222
  • The non-profit organization has donated to 22,517 projects so far this year

Dar Al Ber Society has spent over $56 million during the first half of 2022 on charitable and sustainable development projects that have benefitted 2.9 million people worldwide and in the UAE, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Monday. 

The non-profit organization has donated to 22,517 projects so far this year, according to WAM. 

More than $13.6 million were donated to a total of 8,901 projects in the first quarter of this year, while $14,128,257 were directed to 13,616 projects in the second quarter, the CEO and Managing Director of Dar Al Ber SocietyMuhammad Suhail Al-Muhairi said. 

Some of these humanitarian projects have been completed while others are underway, he added. 

The Dar Al Ber Society helped build 2,144 mosques – 904 in the first quarter and 1,240 in the second quarter. 

A total of 8,121 water-saving projects were also built with the help of the donations, Al-Muhairi said.

The organization helped set up 4,929 projects for families, as well as launch 5,285 medical projects, according to WAM. 

Dar Al Ber also implemented its seasonal projects in 37 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, in cooperation with 32 of its partners in the respective countries.

Represented by the Department of Zakat in the Projects and Zakat Sector, Dar Al Ber Society donated more than $11.6 million in local aid to 346,541 beneficiaries.


Tunisia’s Foreign Minister meets chargée d'affaires at US Embassy in Tunis

Tunisia’s Foreign Minister meets chargée d'affaires at US Embassy in Tunis
Updated 16 August 2022

Tunisia’s Foreign Minister meets chargée d'affaires at US Embassy in Tunis

Tunisia’s Foreign Minister meets chargée d'affaires at US Embassy in Tunis
  • The meeting represented “positive and constructive dialogue that reflects the strength of bilateral relations”

DUBAI: Tunisia’s foreign minister discussed ways to rectify the democratic process in the country during a meeting with the chargée d'affaires at the US Embassy in Tunis on Monday. 
Othman Jerandi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, met with Natasha Franceschi, chargée d'affaires at the US Embassy, to step up consultations between the two countries, Tunisia’s state news agency TAP reported. 
The meeting represented “positive and constructive dialogue that reflects the strength of bilateral relations,” the Foreign Affairs Department said in a statement.
Upcoming bilateral events, such as the Joint Military Commission, were also discussed at the meeting, according to the same statement.
During the meeting, Jerandi welcomed the ties between the two countries, while Franceschi stressed the US’ keenness to develop partnerships with Tunisia in all sectors.
Franceschi also presented America’s initiative to host the US-Africa Leaders Summit scheduled for Dec. 13-15 in Washington.


Jordan police bust crystal meth lab in Amman, arrest three

Jordan police bust crystal meth lab in Amman, arrest three
Updated 16 August 2022

Jordan police bust crystal meth lab in Amman, arrest three

Jordan police bust crystal meth lab in Amman, arrest three
  • Similar police operations were also undertaken in Zarqa, northeast of Amman

DUBAI: Three people were arrested after Jordanian police on Monday raided a house in East Amman that was being used as a crystal meth laboratory.

The raid was carried out after agents of the anti-narcotics department received a tip off.

The officers did not find the suspect in his home, but discovered and subsequently seized chemicals used for manufacturing methamphetamine.

The man was arrested later during a follow-up operation, where he also said he had an accomplice who worked with him to produce and sell the narcotics.

In a similar effort in Jordan’s campaign to crack down on the illegal drug trade, police raided a chalet west of Al-Balqa and arrested a man found in possession of marijuana and as well as a firearm on suspicion after he tried to flee.

Similar police operations were also undertaken in Zarqa, northeast of Amman, where suspects have been arrested while in possession of illegal drugs and narcotics.