Egypt detects first monkeypox case

Egypt detects first monkeypox case
Egypt has detected the first monkeypox case in the country. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 September 2022

Egypt detects first monkeypox case

Egypt detects first monkeypox case
  • The 42-year-old was isolated in a hospital and his condition was stable

LONDON: Egypt announced on Wednesday it had detected the first monkeypox case in the country, who is an Egyptian man who has a residency in a European country.

“The Ministry of Health and Population announced that, as part of the continuous follow-up of the epidemiological situation, an Egyptian citizen tested positive for the monkeypox virus, and his infection was discovered through epidemiological monitoring procedures carried out by the ministry,” it said in a statement.

The 42-year-old was isolated in a hospital and his condition was stable, the statement added.

The ministry added that all health and preventive measures have been taken with his close contacts, in accordance with the treatment and follow-up protocols approved by the World Health Organization.

The ongoing viral outbreak emerged in May and has since spread to a number of countries, including the Middle East, and it follows over two years of strict isolation and health measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency as the disease has spread to dozens of countries.

Monkeypox — what you need to know

Nearly 28,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide in the last three months and the first deaths are starting to be recorded.

Monkeypox has been around in a dozen African countries for decades, but in contrast to previous outbreaks on the continent, the virus is now predominantly spread through sexual activity. Some 99 percent of US cases have so far been among men who have sex with men (MSM). In Africa, the virus notably affects children.

In the last three weeks studies printed in leading medical publications — British Medical Journal (BMJ), The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) — painted a clinical picture of the current spike in infections, even if it is still early days and the results are based on only a few hundred cases.

In each study, the MSM community accounts for nearly all cases.

All three studies agreed on the main symptoms. “The characteristics of the cohort we describe differ from those of populations affected in previous outbreaks in endemic regions,” the BMJ noted in the study of UK cases. The two key elements are fever, often with muscular aches, and skin lesions which scab over.

But the details vary, probably because of the type of transmission, with recent cases heavily linked to sexual activity.

(With Reuters and AFP)


Houthi land mines killed 32 Yemenis this year

Houthi land mines killed 32 Yemenis this year
Updated 04 February 2023

Houthi land mines killed 32 Yemenis this year

Houthi land mines killed 32 Yemenis this year
  • Civilian casualties due to land mines have increased despite the cessation of hostilities during the truce brokered by the United Nations in April
  • Hodeidah was the province with the highest number of civilians killed by land mines, with 18 deaths including eight children

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: At least 32 Yemeni civilians have been killed and 42 others injured by land mines planted by Houthis since the start of the year, according to Yemeni Landmine Records — a group that tracks civilian land mine fatalities in the country.
The group said it had recorded 41 explosions caused by land mines, ordnance, or other explosive devices that had killed 32 civilians — including 14 children and a woman — and wounded 42 others including 15 children and a woman in January.
Civilian casualties due to land mines have increased despite the cessation of hostilities during the truce brokered by the United Nations in April, it added.
Hodeidah was the province with the highest number of civilians killed by land mines, with 18 deaths including eight children and a woman, and 20 injuries, including 11 children.
Next on the list were Jouf, Marib, Saada, and Hajjah.
“The intensity of military activities has diminished over the last several months, but mines and other war leftovers continue to kill and harm people. They have aggravated misery and hindered the return of some displaced families to their homes and farmers to their jobs,” Fares Al-Hemyari, Yemeni Landmine Records’ executive manager, said in a statement.
Al-Hemyari’s organization is one of many local and international rights groups to say that thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed or injured since the beginning of the Iran-backed Houthis’ expansion across the country following their military seizure in late 2014.
They accuse the Houthis of randomly planting land mines in former battlefields and refusing to hand over maps indicating where those land mines are located.
The most recent verified victims of Houthi land mines were two children: Khalil Yahiya, 12, and Saber Mohammed, 15, from the city of Hodeidah, according to Yemeni Landmine Records. The group also reported that 14 Yemeni civilians had been killed or wounded in Jouf, Hodeidah, Saada, Hajjah, and Lahj in the 48 hours before its announcement.
The Saudi-funded Project Masam — a demining program in Yemen — has reported that the Houthis have transformed Yemen into the largest land mine field in the world by planting tens of thousands of the devices.
Masam said its field deminers removed 4,615 land mines, unexploded ordnance, and other devices from approximately 968,000 square meters of ground in January, bringing the total number of defused land mines and other explosive devices to 384,220 from 43,612,000 square meters of Yemeni soil since the project was launched in 2018.
Yemeni deminers say that the majority of recent civilian deaths in the province of Hodeidah happened in regions held by the Houthis.
Salem Hemaid, head of Masam’s demining team, told Arab News on Saturday that they are racing against time to avoid human casualties and enable displaced residents to return home.
“The absence of maps, vast swaths of contaminated ground, and the indiscriminate placement of land mines are our greatest obstacles,” Hemaid said, adding that the Houthis had laid land mines in numerous Hodeidah districts abandoned by the Yemeni government’s Joint Forces in late 2021.
Hemaid’s crew removed over 25,000 land mines in 2022 in 16 communities in Hodeidah, he said.
“The Houthis thoroughly mined the shoreline, as well as the locations and barricades from which the Joint Forces withdrew so that if they returned they would be blown up by the mines,” Hemaid said.
 


British military forces in Kuwait for Desert Warrior 7 drills

British military forces in Kuwait for Desert Warrior 7 drills
Updated 04 February 2023

British military forces in Kuwait for Desert Warrior 7 drills

British military forces in Kuwait for Desert Warrior 7 drills
  • Joint exercise serves to ‘increase bilateral cooperation’ Kuwait Defense Ministry says

KUWAIT: British military forces have arrived in Kuwait to participate in Desert Warrior 7 — a military exercise that will be carried out in partnership with the Kuwait Land Force between Feb. 5 and Feb. 23.
The Kuwait News Agency reported on Saturday that a statement from Kuwait’s Ministry of Defense said that the joint drill “serves to increase bilateral cooperation and unify military concepts and joint training.”


Israeli army besieges homes of fugitives in West Bank raid

Israeli army besieges homes of fugitives in West Bank raid
Updated 04 February 2023

Israeli army besieges homes of fugitives in West Bank raid

Israeli army besieges homes of fugitives in West Bank raid
  • The army said it entered the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp southwest of Jericho in the occupied West Bank to search for suspects involved in a shooting attack last week
  • Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest in those areas since 2004

AQABAT JABR REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank: The Israeli army raided a refugee camp near the Palestinian city of Jericho on Saturday, besieging houses it said were being used as hideouts for Palestinian attackers and shooting at residents who opened fire. The fighting wounded six Palestinians, two seriously, said the Palestinian Health Ministry, and jolted a generally quiet oasis town that has seen less violence than other West Bank cities.
The army said it entered the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp southwest of Jericho in the occupied West Bank to search for suspects involved in a shooting attack last week at a nearby Israeli settlement.
Last Saturday, with the West Bank on edge after the deadliest Israeli military raid in two decades and two subsequent Palestinian attacks in east Jerusalem that killed seven people, the army said a Palestinian gunman had opened fire in a restaurant at a settlement near Jericho. After firing one bullet, the gunman fled the scene, the army said. No one was wounded.
The army said several Palestinians had holed up in their homes after the shooting with the help of family and were planning future attacks.
To force the fugitives to surrender, a military bulldozer clawed at the walls of one of the homes as an Israeli commander shouted threats over a loudspeaker. Camp residents reported receiving text messages urging families to keep their children inside and avoid clashing with Israeli troops.
The suspects and family members trickled out of one of the homes and turned themselves in, the military said. Security forces had leveled much of the house, leaving a pile of rubble and twisted metal. Palestinian protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at military jeeps as they rumbled down the camp streets, while some gunmen opened fire. The Israeli military fired back, wounding six, none critically, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The incursion comes as violence rises in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank under Israel’s new far-right government, which has taken a combative stance against the Palestinians. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.
The Israeli army has ramped up near-nightly raids in the occupied West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks within Israel last spring. Over the last year and a half of escalating raids, Jericho has remained a sort of sleepy desert town, spared much of the violence.
Since last week’s shooting at the nearby settlement, the Israeli military has blocked access to several roads into Jericho — a closure that has placed the city under a semi-blockade, disrupting business and creating hourslong bottlenecks at checkpoints that affected even Palestinian security forces, footage showed.
The Palestinian Authority, in retaliation for last week’s raid into the Jenin refugee camp that killed 10 Palestinians, declared a halt to security coordination with Israel.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest in those areas since 2004, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Some 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.


Yemeni minister condemns Iran’s escalated arms smuggling to Houthis

Yemeni minister condemns Iran’s escalated arms smuggling to Houthis
Updated 04 February 2023

Yemeni minister condemns Iran’s escalated arms smuggling to Houthis

Yemeni minister condemns Iran’s escalated arms smuggling to Houthis
  • Minister pointed to recent international crackdown on Iranian shipments of weapons heading to Yemen

DUBAI: Iran has escalated its arms smuggling operations to the Houthi militia since the United Nations-backed truce ended last October, said Muammar Al-Eryani, Yemen’s minister of information, culture, and tourism.

The minister pointed to a recent operation, jointly carried out by US and French forces, that intercepted an Iranian shipment of weapons heading to Yemen through the Gulf of Oman.  

Reports earlier said the vessel carried 3,000 assault rifles, 20 anti-tank missiles, and around 500,000 rounds of ammunition en route to the Houthi militia.

In a statement, the US said the operation was one of four major interdictions over the last two months that prevented over 5,000 weapons and 1.6 million rounds of ammunition from reaching Yemen.

Al-Eryani said the Yemeni security forces’ seizure of 100 drone engines, headed to the Houthis via Shahn land port in the 5th such violation in two months, has demonstrated Iran’s role in undermining the international community’s efforts to end the war and bring peace to Yemen.

He added that it confirms Iran’s full empowerment of a militia that “doesn’t have power to decide on war and peace.”

Al-Eryani accused Iran’s regime of committing such violations to “export its internal crises” and “cover up atrocities against the Iranian people.”

The regime, he said, wanted to “mobilize its sectarian militias to create chaos, terrorism, destabilize security and stability, and threaten energy security and international shipping lanes.”

The minister called on the international community and UN members to confront Iran’s illegal practices that undermine regional and international stability.


UN ‘unable’ to resolve conflicts, Jordanian official

UN ‘unable’ to resolve conflicts, Jordanian official
Updated 04 February 2023

UN ‘unable’ to resolve conflicts, Jordanian official

UN ‘unable’ to resolve conflicts, Jordanian official
  • Global organization needs to play a more “effective” role in ending regional disputes, said senate speaker Faisal Fayez

AMMAN: Jordan’s Senate Speaker Faisal Fayez has said that the UN is still “unable” to play its role in ending conflicts and crises, especially ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

On Friday, Jordan’s News Agency reported that Fayez’s statement came during a student workshop on the role of the UN and the goals on which it was founded.

He said the UN has been unable to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and had not been able to take any decision regarding the crimes and massacres committed by the Israeli authorities daily against Palestinians.

“The UN is unable to end the conflicts and political crises in Syria, Yemen and Libya,” Fayez added.

The organization needed to play a more “effective” role in ending regional conflicts and enabling its people to live freely and safely, he said.