Egypt, Germany, Britain, Greece mark 80th anniversary of Battle of El-Alamein

Special Egypt, Germany, Britain, Greece mark 80th anniversary of Battle of El-Alamein
Germany, Egypt, Britain, Italy and Greece have been commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of El-Alamein. (Twitter Photo)
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Updated 23 October 2022

Egypt, Germany, Britain, Greece mark 80th anniversary of Battle of El-Alamein

Egypt, Germany, Britain, Greece mark 80th anniversary of Battle of El-Alamein
  • ‘Enemies of yesterday stand together,’ German ambassador to Egypt says
  • More than 11,000 soldiers from both sides died in 1942 conflict

CAIRO: Representatives from Germany, Egypt, Britain, Italy and Greece took part in a ceremony on Saturday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of El-Alamein during the Second World War.

Thousands of people were killed in the three-week battle, which started on Oct. 23, 1942, and was a major turning point in the conflict.

According to the German Embassy in Egypt, this year’s commemorations, held at the German War Memorial in El-Alamein, aimed to recall the horrors of war while calling for the preservation of peace.

German Ambassador Frank Hartmann said: “Today, after 80 years, the enemies of yesterday stand together as friends and partners of today.”

But he added that Europe and the world was once again being threatened by the war waged by Russia, which denied the Ukrainian people their right to exist and self-determination.

“We stand united in solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are defending their freedom, our freedom, their democracy, and our democracy against aggression,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to history and to mourn the dead, but we also have a responsibility to humanity’s present and future. As a result, we come together to protect the world order based on the United Nations Charter and to defend global peace.”

The German Embassy said the commemorations were attended by diplomats, politicians and soldiers from all of the nations involved in the battle.

They included UK Defense Senior Adviser to the Middle East and North Africa Air Marshal Martin Sampson, Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Gen. Konstantinos Floros and Deputy Chief of the Italian Defense General Staff Lt. Gen. Carmine Masiello.

Senior officials from Egypt and ambassadors from several other countries were also present.

The Battle of El-Alamein, which ended on Nov. 11, 1942, was a decisive victory for the Allied forces, marking a watershed moment in the Western Desert campaign. More than 11,000 soldiers from both sides fell in the battle.


Gritty school drama sparks controversy in Tunisia

Updated 7 sec ago

Gritty school drama sparks controversy in Tunisia

Gritty school drama sparks controversy in Tunisia
TUNIS: Tunisia’s education minister has lashed out at a Ramadan TV series accused of tarnishing the reputation of schools, while two lawyers launched a bid to take it off the air.
The controversy came after private channel El Hiwar Ettounsi on Thursday evening broadcast the first episode of the soap opera “Fallujah.”
Named after a city that became a symbol of Arab resistance for battling American occupation forces after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the series is a drama about a group of high school students, their behavior toward their teachers and their often difficult home lives.
In one scene, a new teacher is hit on by students in the classroom then finds her car tagged with “Welcome to Fallujah.”
In another, a drug dealer in the schoolyard hands out ecstasy tablets to students who then sell them on to classmates.
Education Minister Mohamed Ali Boughdiri told local radio he had alerted Prime Minister Nalja Bouden.
“We will take all necessary measures to take this farce off the air. It has offended families, undermines the entire education system and considerably harms the image of Tunisian schools,” he said.
Two lawyers also filed a request to a Tunis court to stop the broadcasts immediately.
“This series deliberately undermines (public) morals and the educational system by disseminating obscenities,” lawyers Saber Ben Ammar and Hssan Ezzedine Diab wrote.
Teacher’s union the Federation of Secondary Education said the series “seriously harms teachers” and urged the ministry of education to investigate how a private TV channel was able to film in it a public school.
Union chief Lassaad Yaacoubi said the ministry had approved the filming in exchange for giving the school some of the furniture used during the production.

Daesh group kills 15 truffle hunters in Syria: monitor

Daesh group kills 15 truffle hunters in Syria: monitor
Updated 42 min 34 sec ago

Daesh group kills 15 truffle hunters in Syria: monitor

Daesh group kills 15 truffle hunters in Syria: monitor
  • Syria’s desert truffles fetch high prices in a country battered by 12 years of war

BEIRUT: The Daesh group killed 15 people foraging for desert truffles in conflict-ravaged central Syria by cutting their throats, while 40 others are missing, a war monitor said Friday.
Syria’s desert truffles fetch high prices in a country battered by 12 years of war and a crushing economic crisis.
Since February, at least 150 people — most of them civilians — have been killed by IS attacks targeting truffle hunters or by land mines left by the extremists, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“At least 15 people, including seven civilians and eight local pro-regime fighters, were killed by Daesh fighters who slit their throats while they were collecting truffles on Thursday,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
Forty others are missing following the attack in Hama province, he added.
Syrian state media did not immediately report the incident.
Between February and April each year, hundreds of impoverished Syrians search for truffles in the vast Syrian Desert, or Badia — a known hideout for jihadists that is also littered with land mines.
Foragers risk their lives to collect the delicacies, despite repeated warnings about land mines and Daesh fighters.
Earlier this month, Daesh fighters killed three truffle hunters and kidnapped at least 26 others in northern Syria, according to the monitor, which relies on a vast network of sources inside Syria.
That attack happened near positions held by pro-Iran forces, said the Britain-based Observatory.


Briton, hotel worker die in Morocco resort spa fire

Briton, hotel worker die in Morocco resort spa fire
Updated 24 March 2023

Briton, hotel worker die in Morocco resort spa fire

Briton, hotel worker die in Morocco resort spa fire
  • Blaze in Marrakech trapped father of two, worker in ‘truly horrific incident’
  • They died from smoke inhalation despite efforts of paramedics, police, firefighters

LONDON: A British man and a hotel worker have died in a fire that broke out at a resort in Marrakech on Wednesday, The Sun reported.

The blaze broke out in a spa in the five-star Jaal Riad Resort, trapping the father of two and the hotel worker inside.

They died from smoke inhalation despite the efforts of paramedics, police and firefighters who rushed to the scene.

A source described it as a “truly horrific incident,” adding that the Briton “was a tourist visiting the area with friends and they have had to break the news to his family. Everyone is heartbroken.”

A fire service spokesman said: “We can’t comment further because of an ongoing investigation.”


Algeria to send imams to Italy for Taraweeh prayers

Algeria to send imams to Italy for Taraweeh prayers
Updated 24 March 2023

Algeria to send imams to Italy for Taraweeh prayers

Algeria to send imams to Italy for Taraweeh prayers
  • Imams to be sent to France for same purpose; Germany and Belgium have made similar requests
  • Italy made request ‘so all Muslims will be given good spiritual care during Ramadan,’ Interior Ministry source tells Arab News

ROME: Twenty-nine imams from Algeria will be sent by their government to Italy to help local imams perform Taraweeh prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

The imams will be sent “upon a specific request by the Italian authorities,” Algerian Religious Affairs Minister Youssef Belmehdi told state radio.

He added that 128 imams will be sent to France for the same purpose, and that Germany and Belgium have made similar requests.

A source in Italy’s Interior Ministry told Arab News that the request for imams from Algeria was made “so that all Muslims in Italy will be given good spiritual care during Ramadan.” The source said Algeria’s government “enthusiastically and promptly agreed” to the request.

Giuseppe Ciutti, a Catholic priest who is engaged in ecumenical dialogue, told Arab News: “At such an important time as Ramadan for Muslims, it’s important that everyone can get good spiritual assistance.”

According to the Union of Islamic Communities in Italy, 2.5 million Muslims live in the country, comprising 4.7 percent of the total population. Moroccans represent the largest Muslim community in Italy.


Iran urges France to listen to protesters, avoid violence

Iran urges France to listen to protesters, avoid violence
Updated 24 March 2023

Iran urges France to listen to protesters, avoid violence

Iran urges France to listen to protesters, avoid violence
  • Protesters clashed with French security forces in the most serious violence yet of a three-month revolt
  • Kanani was referring to criticism, including from France, of Iran’s response to months-long protests

TEHRAN: Iran on Friday urged France to listen to protesters and avoid violence after more than 450 people were arrested and nearly as many police were injured in demonstrations against pension reforms.
Protesters clashed with French security forces on Thursday in the most serious violence yet of a three-month revolt against President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to increase the retirement age.
“The French government must talk to its people and listen to their voices,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani tweeted.
“We do not support destruction or rioting, but we maintain that instead of creating chaos in other countries, listen to the voice of your people and avoid violence against them,” he added.
Kanani was referring to criticism, including from France, of Iran’s response to months-long protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini after the 22-year-old’s arrest for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Hundreds of people have been killed, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands arrested in connection with what Iranian officials described as “riots” fomented by Israel and the West.
The United States, Britain and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran for its response to the protest movement, led mostly by women.
“Those who sow the wind reap the whirlwind,” Kanani said, adding that such “violence contradicts sitting on the chair of morality lessons and preaching to others.”
On Friday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 457 people had been arrested and 441 members of the security forces injured the day before during the protests.
Darmanin dismissed calls from protesters to withdraw the pensions reform.
“I don’t think we should withdraw this law because of violence,” he said. “If so, that means there’s no state. We should accept a democratic, social debate, but not a violent debate.”