Following the unprecedented exodus of Coptic citizens from the North Sinai city of Al-Arish due to militants’ threats, the army official spokesperson said in a Facebook statement that forces managed on Monday to kill six militants and arrest 18 suspects in North Sinai in a sweeping operation. According to the statement, the operation targeted terrorists’ stationing points, which led to the discovery of two explosives-storages. “As a continuation to the armed efforts in eliminating terrorists’ stationing points, army forces located in North Sinai managed to kill six militants, arrest 18 suspects, discover two explosives’ storages, and destroy eight improvised explosive devices [IEDs]”, the statement read. Despite these efforts, the wave of violence and militant activity are on the rise. On Sunday, militants, who threatened to punish those who are not accompanied by a male relative, stopped a bus of female teachers in Rafah. The militants told the female teachers that not wearing a veil while going to their workplace and without the accompaniment of a male relative is considered a kind of apostasy. Meanwhile, other anonymous militants—believed to be members of Sinai Province—brought a civilian—suspected to be an informant for the army—to the village of El Hosynat, west of Rafah, and brutally killed him. Since February, seven Copts have been killed in Al-Arish, five of which have been shot and two have been burnt to death. In the latest incident, the corpses of two Coptic citizens have been found thrown behind a state-run language school. Last week, under the name of the “Islamic State in Egypt” and with the headline of “Fight All Infidels”, the IS-affiliated group released a new video, issuing fierce threats against the Coptic citizens of Egypt, accusing them of insulting Islam, and threatening to carry out more attacks against them.
Humberto de la Calle, former Chief Negotiator of the Government in the peace process with the FARC, speaking at a conference at the University of Manizales said that hopes that the agreement between the rebel militia ELN and the government will be successful, however, pointed out that if the attack of last Sunday in Bogotá should be a work of ELN then the peace talks would feel the effects. Regarding the agreements of La Habana de la Calle answered words of former President Uribe, who said that if his coalition win the presidential election of 2018 would change the agreement with the FARC, former Chief Negotiator noted that it is necessary to continue on the current line and that it would be futile to retract an agreement that largely has already entered into force.
Deputy to the National Assembly of the State of Carabobo, Marco Bozo, said during the Globovisión “PrimeraPágina” program that the government wants to take advantage of the party renewal process for istaurare a one-party system, which would refer to the governing coalition Gran Polo Patriótico. Bozo has however reassured about the intentions of the opposition coalition, of which he is part, Mesa de la UnidadDemocrática to prevent the government in the implementation of this process and that the MUD is planning to emerge stronger from the renewal process of political parties. Finally Bozo said he was disappointed with the results achieved in 2016 and at the beginning of 2017 in the process of dialogue between government and opposition, according to the Deputy the success of the dialogue will depend almost exclusively on the will and skill of their leaders.
At the end of two days of talks on Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria have unveiled a fresh initiative to further political reconciliation in the country, but say any solution must be based on the December 2015 Skhirat agreement. The move follows the failure of Egyptian-hosted attempts at a meeting between Presidency Council head FaiezSerraj and the eastern military supremoKhalifaHafter. The three countries hope to organise a successful meeting between the pair. The ‘Tunis Declaration’, signed by Egyptian foreign minister SamehShoukry, Algerian Minister for Maghreb, African and Arab Affairs AbdelkaderMessahel and Tunisian foreign minister KhemaiesJhinaoui, also rejected foreign intervention or the use of force in finding a resolution and called for a unified Libyan military operating alongside the country’s various state institutions. At a press conference in Tunis today, the three said their countries would “step up efforts to achieve comprehensive reconciliation”. However, they added, ultimately “a viable settlement can only be achieved by the Libyan people themselves”. They also announced Algiers would host a further tripartite summit to further explore remedies to the crisis in Libya. No date was given. Tunisian president BejiCaidEssebi joined the deliberations for part of them.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday advised Israel anew against waging any war on Lebanon, warning that his group will not abide by any “red lines” in any future confrontation, media reports said. “Israel must ‘count to one million’ before waging any war on Lebanon and we’re prepared for any threat”, the reports quoted Nasrallah as telling Iran’s state television. “We are not advocates of war. We are in the defense position” Hizbullah’s chief reportedly noted. “In the face of Israel’s threats to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, we will not abide by red lines, especially regarding Haifa’s ammonia and the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Hizbullah possesses the full courage for this”, added Nasrallah. A 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah killed about 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and around 160 Israelis mostly soldiers before ending in a United Nations-brokered cease-fire. The Israel-Lebanon border has remained mostly quiet since the 2006 war but there have been sporadic outbursts of violence.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received a delegation led by Minister of Education and Higher Education of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdul Wahed Al-Hammadi Feb. 20. The president pointed out the close partnership between Azerbaijan and Qatar, saying it is important that the relations cover as many areas as possible. Aliyev underlined the significance of his recent meeting with Qatar`s foreign minister, his own planned visit to Qatar, as well as the visit of the Qatari minister of education and higher education to Baku. He said education is one of the key priority areas both in Azerbaijan and Qatar and highlighted the importance of studying practical aspects of partnership in the field of education, expressing his confidence that it will contribute to the elaboration of a long-term cooperation program.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is proving very fond of the spotlight, unlike the President Trump who loves the media attention, Tillerson has already made it clear to senior officials of the State Department that it intends to keep a low profile, in sharp contrast with his predecessor John Kerry who often spoke to the press. The style of Tillerson has seen in his first commitment of great importance, the G20 in Germany, where he got to meet several foreign Ministers, in particularly had reassured Japan and South Korea about the US commitment against Korea North in the Pacifc area. The Choose of a low profile, however, causes problems to journalists, who can not read well the moves of Tillerson, but also to his colleagues, in fact, france Minister of Foregin Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault after meeting with Secretary of State during the G20 has called “vague” his positions, especially regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) has published a document, which suggests that the eventual construction of the wall on the border between Mexico and the United States would not solve the problem of drug trafficking, in fact, the INCB notes that the Mexican drug cartels operating a turnover of about $ 3.2 billion annually and that take advantage of very technological means such as drones or remote controlled submarines to carry the loads of drugs across the border, considering that according to data of the Secretariat for the National Defense there are today at least 60 airstrips not registered only in the Baja California region.
Italy is looking more closely at the role of privately-funded rescue operations that have been plucking migrants from the seas off Libya and into the possibility that there may be collusion between smugglers and some of the rescuers. A Sicilian prosecutor has told the news agency AFP that the cost and sophistication of the rescue operations had attracted attention. “There is an abnormal proliferation of NGOs [Non-Government Organisations] operating “ said Carmelo Zuccaro, Catania’s prosecutor, “I’m not talking about the big, prestigious organisations, but all the small ones that seem to have sophisticated hardware, such as drones” Zuccaro said that in 2013 his office had begun its own monitoring of migrant trafficking. Because of their expensive equipment and its interest in their sources of funding, it had now started to check NGOs for any links with the smugglers. It seems clear that the European border security force Frontex has been watching the movement of rescue vessels just as it has been seeking to monitor the trafficking gangs that have been launching migrants from the coast of western Libya. Such observation will have included the interception of radio traffic.
Coalition forces carried out 40 air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) have said on Sunday. The air strikes engaged 12 ISIS tactical units, destroyed five vehicles, five fighting positions, a communications tower and stations, four oil storage tanks, eight oil well heads, an oil refinement still and an oil pump jack while other jets launched 26 air raids against ISIS targets near Abu Kamal, al-Bab, Raqqa and Deirez-Zor in Syria.Nine air raids near Mosul destroyed four ISIS headquarters, four watercraft, three command and control nodes and an ISIS support facility. They also damaged nine supply routes and three tunnels.