Lebanon awaits fallout of Israel’s Gaza attack

Lebanon awaits fallout of Israel’s Gaza attack
Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City on Saturday. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 August 2022

Lebanon awaits fallout of Israel’s Gaza attack

Lebanon awaits fallout of Israel’s Gaza attack
  • The Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community “to rapidly intervene to promptly stop these attacks”
  • The developments in Gaza were being closely followed by Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps

BEIRUT: Lebanon has strongly condemned Friday’s attack on Gaza by Israel.
In a statement on Saturday, the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community “to rapidly intervene to promptly stop these attacks, and call on Israel to abide by UN resolutions in order to preserve the safety of the Palestinian civilians who are badly suffering under Israel’s unjust blockade.”
The developments in Gaza were being closely followed by Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps.
People in Lebanon are anxiously waiting to see what direction Israel’s military actions will take and whether they will be affected.
Reacting to the attacks on Gaza, Esmail Qaani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, said: “Hezbollah plans to deal Israel a fatal blow and eradicate it completely at the appropriate time.
“Israel’s security is decreasing,” he continued. “We will not stop fighting … and we will continue to stand firm.”
Hesham Debsi, director of the Tatwir Center for Studies in Lebanon, told Arab News that Qaani’s statement “falls under the category of reaction rather than action.”
“Every time Gaza is under attack from Israel, the Revolutionary Guards Corps launches its favorite slogan, stating that it will deal Israel a fatal blow at the appropriate time. We are still waiting for that moment. It is lame rhetoric made at the expense of Palestinian blood. No one believes it anymore. In fact, it serves the Israeli enemy.”
Hezbollah praised “the solidarity of the Palestinian resistance factions” and emphasized the need to maintain a unified stance, which constitutes the main factor in triumphing over the enemy.”
The group added that it “expressly supports the steps taken by the leadership of the Islamic Jihad Movement in response to the enemy and its persistent crimes.”
Sheikh Naim Kassem, deputy secretary-general of Hezbollah, said on Saturday: “We should know that Israel is criminal and hostile. Killing people — including a child — and injuring dozens in a residential neighborhood is a criminal act that shouldn’t go unpunished. Israel should be responsible for this punishment.”
Debsi said the main problem is that “a Palestinian party is putting Palestine at the service of Iran, in order to receive the blessings of its leadership. They are leaving the Palestinians to a miserable fate.”
He added that Israel’s escalation of violence came during discussions over the Iranian nuclear deal.
“This moment allows everyone to react,” he said. “Israel considers that the American stance is not strong enough. Iran considers this the appropriate moment to get the US to take the Revolutionary Guards Corps off the sanctions list, making it legal in Iran and the Arab region.”
Debsi believes that Israel’s escalation is not targeting Hezbollah, but the Americans and the Iranians.
“It is a filthy move from the Israeli side amid the Israeli elections, just like the killing of Ayman Al-Zawahri in Afghanistan by the (US President Joe) Biden administration serves internal American purposes,” he said.
Sheikh Ali Al-Khatib, vice president of Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shiite Council, said: “The enemy is playing with fire. It will destroy itself. The determination of the resistance and its people will not stop, no matter how great the sacrifices are.”
In a statement, the Shiite clergy called on the UN and the international community to “curb Israeli aggression,” and asked Arab and Muslim leaders “to take firm stances and measures against the aggression in support of the resistance and resilience of the Palestinian people.”
Ali Abou Chahine, leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in Lebanon, said: “The Israeli aggression is a declaration of war against the entire Palestinian people. Our people are involved in confronting this battle wherever they are.
“The response of the resistance will not recognize any red lines,” he continued. “The enemy started the attacks first and the resistance has the right to respond.”

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Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle
Updated 13 August 2022

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle
  • The Cabinet shake-up was approved by parliament in an emergency session and affected 13 portfolios, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation ministries
  • President El-Sisi said the shake-up came in consultation with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly

CAIRO : An emergency session of parliament on Saturday approved several cabinet changes in Egypt’s first major reshuffle since 2019, with 13 ministers moved, the National Media Authority reported.
A statement said the House of Representatives had approved “all the nominations set forth in a letter from President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi regarding a ministerial reshuffle.”
El-Sisi’s official Facebook page said the president had urged parliament to discuss the changes in the more than 30-strong cabinet, which were agreed following consultations with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.
The president said in a Facebook post that the changes aimed at “developing the governmental performance in some important files ... which contribute to protecting the state’s interests and capabilities.”
There has been only one reshuffle since Madbouli took office in 2018, in December 2019.
Following parliamentary approval, the new ministers are now expected to be sworn in.
The reshuffle does not include the key defense, interior, finance or foreign ministries.
But it does appoint new ministers of health, tourism and antiquities, commerce and industry, irrigation, civil aviation, immigration, education, higher education, military production, manpower, public business sector, culture and local development.
Banker Ahmed Issa took over the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, replacing Khaled Al-Anani who led Egypt’s efforts in recent years to revive the tourism industry, a pillar of the economy. Such efforts included displaying ancient discoveries, opening new museums to attract international tourists.
Hani Sweilam, professor of water resources management at Germany’s RWTH Aachen University, was named as Irrigation Minister. He replaced Mohammed Abdel-Aty who oversaw years of technical negations with Ethiopia over its controversial dam on the Nile River’s main tributary.
The decision to replace outgoing irrigation minister Aty comes just a day after Addis Ababa announced it had finished its third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian water project damming the Nile is proceeding without agreement from downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
The new irrigation minister is Hani Sewilam, a professor of sustainable development and water resources management at the American University in Cairo.
He assumes the post amid increasing fears over water security and an impending water crisis.
Other notable swaps include tourism and antiquities. Khaled Anani is credited with several high-profile attempts to revive Egypt’s vital tourism industry, and he is succeeded by Ahmed Issa Abu Hussein.
The health portfolio has been filled by Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, the acting minister since October.
Abdel Ghaffar’s former post of higher education minister will be filled by his deputy, Ayman Ashour.
Another notable appointment is Egyptian Air Force chief Mohamed Abbas Helmy, who takes on the civil aviation portfolio.
The government has held talks in recent months with the International Monetary Fund for a new loan to support its reform program and to help address challenges caused by the war in Europe. The government has received pledges from wealthy Arab Gulf nations for billions of dollars in investments, some of which are for private industry.
(With AFP and AP)


15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials

15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials
Updated 13 August 2022

15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials

15 migrants found dead on border with Sudan, say Libya officials
  • The agency said nine other migrants survived while two remain missing in the desert

CAIRO: Libyan authorities said Saturday they found at least 15 migrants dead in the desert on the borders with Sudan, the latest tragedy involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe via perilous journeys through the conflict-wrecked nation.
The Department for Combating Irregular Migration in the southeastern city of Kufra said the migrants were on their way from Sudan to Libya when their vehicle broke down due to lack of fuel.
The agency said nine other migrants survived while two remain missing in the desert. There were women and children among the migrants, but the agency did not elaborate on how many. It also did not reveal causes of the migrants’ death, but said they did not have enough food and water.
It said the migrants were all Sudanese — from a country in turmoil for years. The migrants likely attempted to reach western Libya in efforts to board trafficking boats to Europe.
The agency posted images on Facebook showing bodies purportedly of the dead migrants who were later burned in the desert.
The tragedy was the latest in Libya’s sprawling desert. In June, authorities in Kufra said they found the bodies of 20 migrants who they said died of thirst in the desert after their vehicle broke down close to the border with Chad.
Libya has in recent years emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. The oil-rich country plunged into chaos following a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Human traffickers in recent years have benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling in migrants across the country’s lengthy borders with six nations. The migrants are then packed into ill-equipped rubber boats and set off on risky sea voyages.


Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle
Updated 13 August 2022

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in Cabinet reshuffle
  • Secretary-General of the House of Representatives Ahmed Manaa invited Parliament’s 596 MPs to attend the meeting without disclosing further information

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt announced a Cabinet reshuffle Saturday to improve his administration's performance as it faces towering economic challenges stemming largely from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Cabinet shake-up, which was approved by parliament in an emergency session, affected 13 portfolios, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation ministries.
Also included in the reshuffle was the tourism portfolio, a key job at a time when Egypt is struggling to revive the lucrative sector decimated by years of turmoil, the pandemic and most recently the war in Europe.
The changes, however, didn’t affect key ministries including foreign, finance, defense and the interior, which is responsible for the police force.
El-Sisi said the shake-up came in consultation with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly. He said in a Facebook post that the changes aimed at “developing the governmental performance in some important files ... which contribute to protecting the state’s interests and capabilities.”
The new ministers are expected to be sworn in before el-Sissi later Saturday or early Sunday.
Egypt’s economy has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, which rattled global markets and hiked oil and food prices across the world.


Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18

Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18
Updated 13 August 2022

Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18

Vehicle accident in southern Egypt kills 9, injures 18

CAIRO: A vehicle accident involving an overturned microbus in southern Egypt killed at least nine people and injured eight, authorities said Saturday.
The crash took place Friday when the passenger vehicle overturned following a tire blowout on a highway in Minya province 273 kilometers (170 miles) south of the capital Cairo, provincial authorities said in a statement.
The microbus, a sort of mass transit minivan, was transporting people from Sohag province to Cairo, the statement said.
Ambulances rushed to the site and moved the injured to hospitals in Minya, the statement added.
Deadly traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in Egypt, which has a poor transportation safety record. The crashes and collisions are mostly caused by speeding, bad roads or poor enforcement of traffic laws.
Earlier this month, a microbus collided with a truck in Sohag, killing at least 17 people and injuring four others. In July, a passenger bus slammed into a parked trailer truck in Minya, leaving 23 dead and a least 30 wounded.


UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations

UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations
Updated 13 August 2022

UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations

UAE FM, Ukrainian counterpart discuss relations

DUBAI: The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, discussed on Friday with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, bilateral relations between their countries, the prospects for cooperation and ways to enhance them.

Both officials also reviewed the latest developments in the Ukraine, in addition to a number of regional and international issues of common interest, UAE state news agency WAM reported. 

During the phone call, Sheikh Abdullah praised the United Nations-backed agreement recently signed in Istanbul between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, which provides for the safe export of grain through the Black Sea to global markets.

He reiterated the UAE's commitment to support all efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and reach a political settlement of the crisis.