Grand imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif calls for end to wars in Gaza and Sudan

Special Grand imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif calls for end to wars in Gaza and Sudan
Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sakhir, Bahrain, Nov. 4, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 05 February 2024
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Grand imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif calls for end to wars in Gaza and Sudan

Grand imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif calls for end to wars in Gaza and Sudan
  • On the fifth anniversary of the day he and Pope Francis signed the Document on Human Fraternity, he says there is a ‘dire need’ to revive its ‘high moral principles’
  • Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the headquarters of which is in Cairo, is Sunni Islam’s oldest and foremost seat of learning

Speaking on the International Day of Human Fraternity, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and chair of the Muslim Council of Elders, said that as the world marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity there was a “dire need” to revive its “high moral principles.”

He called for serious efforts to end wars and conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Gaza, Sudan, and the Red Sea, and in other places around the world.

Al-Tayeb and Pope Francis signed the Document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, on Feb. 4, 2019. In a recorded speech to the Council of Human Fraternity on Sunday, Al-Tayeb said it was extremely regrettable that the fifth anniversary of this historical event was taking place against a backdrop of conflict and war. This places a great responsibility on everyone, he added, and requires that we all continue to work to save the lives of children and other vulnerable people.

He thanked Pope Francis, saying: “I am pleased to share with you today the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity.”

He also thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, and patron and supporter of the document.

Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the headquarters of which is in Cairo, is Sunni Islam’s oldest and foremost seat of learning.


Iraq hangs 11 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security, health sources

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Iraq hangs 11 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security, health sources

Iraq hangs 11 convicted of ‘terrorism’: security, health sources
Eleven “terrorists from Daesh group” were executed by hanging at a prison in Nasiriyah

NASIRIYAH, Iraq: Iraqi authorities have executed this week at least 11 people convicted of “terrorism,” security and health sources said Wednesday, with rights group Amnesty International condemning an “alarming lack of transparency.”
A security source told AFP that 11 “terrorists from Daesh group” were executed by hanging at a prison in Nasiriyah, while a local medical source confirmed that the health department had received the bodies of 11 executed people.

Iraqi authorities have executed this week at least 11 people convicted of “terrorism,” security and health sources said Wednesday. (Reuters)

Biden says Israel must allow aid to Palestinians ‘without delay’

Biden says Israel must allow aid to Palestinians ‘without delay’
Updated 24 April 2024
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Biden says Israel must allow aid to Palestinians ‘without delay’

Biden says Israel must allow aid to Palestinians ‘without delay’
  • “We’re going to immediately secure that aid and surge it,” Biden said
  • “Israel must make sure all this aid reaches the Palestinians in Gaza without delay“

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Wednesday demanded that new humanitarian aid be allowed to immediately reach Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as key US ally Israel fights Hamas there.
“We’re going to immediately secure that aid and surge it... including food, medical supplies, clean water,” Biden said after signing a massive military aid bill for Israel and Ukraine, which also included $1 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
“Israel must make sure all this aid reaches the Palestinians in Gaza without delay,” he said.
US-Israel relations have been strained by Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to send troops into the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where 1.5 million people are sheltering, many in makeshift encampments.
“This bill significantly — significantly — increases humanitarian assistance we’re sending to the innocent people of Gaza who are suffering badly,” Biden said.
“They’re suffering the consequences of this war that Hamas started, and we’ve been working intently for months to get as much aid to Gaza as possible.”


Israel hits Lebanese border towns with 14 missiles

Israel hits Lebanese border towns with 14 missiles
Updated 24 April 2024
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Israel hits Lebanese border towns with 14 missiles

Israel hits Lebanese border towns with 14 missiles
  • Hezbollah targets Israeli settlements in retaliation for Hanin civilian deaths
  • Hezbollah said it attacked the Shomera settlement with dozens of Katyusha rockets

BEIRUT: Clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces escalated sharply on Wednesday, the 200th day of conflict in southern Lebanon’s border area.

Israeli airstrikes created a ring of fire around Lebanese border towns, with at least 14 missiles hitting the area.

In the past two days, military activity in the border region has increased, with Hezbollah targeting areas in northern Acre for the first time in the conflict.

On Wednesday, Israeli strikes hit the outskirts of Aita Al-Shaab, Ramya, Jabal Balat, and Khallet Warda.

The Israeli military said it had destroyed a missile launching pad in Tair Harfa, and targeted Hezbollah infrastructure in Marqaba and Aita Al-Shaab.

Israeli artillery also struck areas of Kafar Shuba and Shehin “to eliminate a potential threat.”

Hezbollah also stepped up its operations, saying this was in retaliation for the “horrific massacre committed by the Israeli enemy in the town of Hanin, causing casualties and injuries among innocent civilians.”

A woman in her 50s and a 12-year-old girl, both members of the same family, were killed in the Israeli airstrike. Six other people were injured.

Hezbollah said it attacked the Shomera settlement with dozens of Katyusha rockets.

The group said it also targeted Israeli troops in Horsh Natawa, and struck the Al-Raheb site with artillery.

It also claimed to have killed and wounded Israeli soldiers in an attack on the Avivim settlement.

Israeli news outlets said that a rocket-propelled grenade hit a house in the settlement, setting the dwelling ablaze.

Hezbollah’s military media said that in the past 200 days of fighting with Israel, 1,998 operations had been carried out from Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, including 1,637 staged by Hezbollah.


Egypt denies any discussions with Israel over Rafah offensive

Egypt denies any discussions with Israel over Rafah offensive
Updated 24 April 2024
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Egypt denies any discussions with Israel over Rafah offensive

Egypt denies any discussions with Israel over Rafah offensive
  • Egypt reiterates opposition to any move on Rafah
  • Warnings tell of expected losses and negative repercussions

CAIRO: Egypt has denied any discussions with Israel regarding an offensive in the Palestinian city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Diaa Rashwan, the head of Egypt’s State Information Service, has refuted what has been claimed in one of the major American newspapers: that Egypt has discussed with the Israeli side its plans for an offensive in Rafah.

Rashwan has affirmed the Egyptian stance — announced several times by its political leadership — of complete opposition to the operation, which it is thought will lead to further massacres, massive human losses, and widespread destruction.

He added that Egypt’s repeated warnings have reached the Israeli side, from all channels, since Israel proposed carrying out a military operation in Rafah. These warnings tell of expected losses and the negative repercussions on the stability of the entire region.

Rashwan added that while Israel is contemplating its operation — which Egypt and most of the world and its international institutions stand against — Egyptian efforts since the beginning of the Israeli aggression had focused on reaching a ceasefire agreement and the exchange of prisoners and detainees.

He said Egypt was seeking the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, especially the north and Gaza City, and the evacuation of wounded and sick people for treatment outside the area.

Egypt has repeatedly opposed the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and is warning against any military operation in Rafah.


UAE announces $544m for repairs after record rains

People walk through flood water caused by heavy rains, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 17, 2024. (Reuters)
People walk through flood water caused by heavy rains, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 17, 2024. (Reuters)
Updated 24 April 2024
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UAE announces $544m for repairs after record rains

People walk through flood water caused by heavy rains, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 17, 2024. (Reuters)
  • Wednesday's announcement comes more than a week after the unprecedented deluge lashed the desert country
  • “The situation was unprecedented in its severity but we are a country that learns from every experience,” Sheikh Mohammed said

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates announced $544 million to repair the homes of Emirati families on Wednesday after last week’s record rains caused widespread flooding and brought the Gulf state to a standstill.
“We learned great lessons in dealing with severe rains,” said Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum after a cabinet meeting, adding that ministers approved “two billion dirhams to deal with damage to the homes of citizens.”
Wednesday’s announcement comes more than a week after the unprecedented deluge lashed the desert country, where it turned streets into rivers and hobbled Dubai airport, the world’s busiest for international passengers.
“A ministerial committee was assigned to follow up on this file... and disburse compensation in cooperation with the rest of the federal and local authorities,” said Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai, which was one of the worst hit of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms.
The rainfall was the UAE’s heaviest since records began 75 years ago.
Cabinet ministers also formed a second committee to log infrastructure damage and propose solutions, Sheikh Mohammed said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“The situation was unprecedented in its severity but we are a country that learns from every experience,” he said.
The storm, which dumped up to two years’ worth of rain on the UAE, had subsided by last Wednesday.
But Dubai faced severe disruption for days later, with water-clogged roads and flooded homes.
Dubai airport canceled 2,155 flights, diverted 115 and did not return to full capacity until Tuesday.