Middle East & North Africa

Egypt Court Upholds Prison Sentences For Outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Members In Violence Case

CAIRO, July 12 (NNN-MENA) – An Egyptian court turned down on Saturday, an appeal by Muslim Brotherhood member, Mahmoud Makawi Afifi, upholding a 20-year prison sentence by a criminal court over Afifi’s involvement in violence that took place in 2012.

The case involved violence against protesters, who were holding a sit-in in front of the Ittihadeya presidential palace in Cairo, during which journalist, al-Husseini Abu-Deif was killed, official Ahram Online news website reported.

Lives will be lost as Syria aid access cut, aid agencies warn

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A U.N. Security Council resolution that leaves only one of two border crossings open for aid deliveries from Turkey into rebel-held northwestern Syria will cost lives and intensify the suffering of 1.3 million people living there, aid agencies said.

Western states had pressed for aid access to continue through two crossings at the Turkish border, but Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s main ally in his war against, and China vetoed a last-ditch effort on Friday to keep both open.

Yemen's Houthis agree to give U.N. access to abandoned tanker - sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen’s Houthi movement has agreed to provide the United Nations access to a stranded oil tanker that risks causing an environmental disaster off the coast of the war-divided country, two U.N. sources familiar with the matter said.

The U.N. earlier this week said it was extremely concerned after water entered the engine room of Safer tanker, which carries 1.1 million barrels of crude oil and has been stranded off the Red Sea oil terminal of Ras Issa for over five years.

COVID-19 cases in Iran exceed 255,000 as Saudi Arabia's tally nears 230,000

CAIRO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran surpassed 255,000 on Saturday while Saudi Arabia's tally of coronavirus infections approached 230,000.

Iran, the hardest-hit country by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East region, reported 2,397 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 255,117.

The country also reported 188 new deaths from the virus, raising the death toll to 12,653. A total of 217,666 coronavirus patients have recovered, with 3,338 still in critical condition.

Iran denies explosion west of Tehran amid news of unusual incidents

12 July 2020; MEMO: The Iranian authorities denied the occurrence of an explosion west of Tehran, according to Iranian media, amid news of a series of recent unusual incidents.

It was reported that the explosion was heard west of the Iranian province of Tehran, and according to Iranian media, there was a power outage in the city of Qods in Tehran Province.

Yemen: UAE-backed militias clash with Saudi-backed combatants

12 July 2020; MEMO: Separate militia groups, one backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the other backed by Saudi Arabia, have clashed in Yemen, where both countries are part of a coalition aiming to end the military coup in war-torn Yemen, Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.

Iran's president calls for ban on weddings, wakes to halt virus spread

12 July 2020; MEMO: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Saturday for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem a rise in coronavirus infections, but insisted the country’s economy had to stay open.

Shortly after Rouhani’s televised speech, a police official in Tehran announced the closure of all wedding and mourning venues in the capital until further notice.

Iran has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April but has recently reported a sharp rise in the infection rate.

Tension between Netanyahu, Shin Bet over Iran’s hacking of Gantz’s phone

12 July 2020; MEMO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced his anger several times as Nadav Argaman, head of Shin Bet, concealed information about Iran’s hacking of Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s mobile phone, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed on Friday.

Netanyahu was angry with Argaman because the latter had not briefed him nor told the public about the hacking.

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