Archive for Middle East
The Egyptian embassy in Algeria has managed to secure the release of an Egyptian sailor who was on board a foreign ship held at the Algerian port of “Djen Djen” since July 2013. The Swedish ship “IOS” has been held in the Algerian port since July with six Egyptian sailors on board due to a dispute over the vessel’s ownership. The Egyptian sailors rejected leaving the ship except after receiving their financial dues. In statements to the Middle East News Agency (MENA), Egypt’s Ambassador in Algiers Ezzeddin Fahmy said a role was played by the Algerian authorities for deporting the Egyptian sailor, although no final solution has been reached so far.
Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Iranian diplomat abducted in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a last July is safe and sound. “Experts at [Iran’s] Foreign Ministry are seriously following the situation of [the kidnapped administrative staff member of the Iranian Embassy in Sana’a] Nour Ahmad Nikbakht and according to the latest information, he is healthy,” Zarif said on Tuesday. He expressed hope that the abducted Iranian diplomat would return to the country as soon as possible. Zarif added that pursuing the diplomat’s case is among the main priorities of Iran’s Foreign Ministry. On July 21, 2013, Nikbakht was on his way to work from his home in the diplomatic quarter of Sana’a when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him. In late January, a decapitated body was found in central Yemen which was reported to belong to Nikbakht. However, Tehran denied the reports. A Yemeni security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Sunday that the Iranian Embassy official is “still alive.”
A mortar shell has been fired in the direction of the French embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, a police source has said. The source said on Monday that the shell landed near a concrete block, installed for security reasons, on a road leading to the embassy, AFP reported. “The shell landed about thirty meters from the wall of the French embassy,” he said, adding that there were no casualties. A car also exploded meters away from the embassy in the diplomatic quarter in the capital. The car “was parked halfway between the embassy and the residence of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital’s diplomatic district of Hadda,” the same source said. The attacks came shortly after two devices went off in a minibus parked in the center of Sana’a near the defense ministry late on Sunday.
Bahrain will soon open its first South American embassy in Brazil, with others also being considered, it was announced on Sunday. The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, made the decision after a study by the Foreign Ministry, Gulf Daily News reported. “There are huge interests between Bahrain and South American countries, but we are not represented there,” Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab said. “Anything in relation to South American countries was being done by our embassy in Washington and that is illogical.”
A senior Austrian diplomat is to help a 29-year-old female compatriot fight extramarital-sex charges in Dubai. Elisabeth Ellison-Kramer will head a negotiation team sent by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz to defend the Viennese student who was the United Arab Emirates as a tourist, according to the Kronen Zeitung newspaper. The Austrian woman said she was offered a lift home by a man after a party, but was then raped in the parking garage of a five-star hotel. She added that she was then locked up for three days and meanwhile was encouraged to marry her attacker to “milden the punishment.” The man involved said the sex was voluntary and he even offered to pay for it. The woman filed a complaint to the police, though in the Muslim country extra-marital sex is prohibited, as is the consumption of alcohol, which the woman had also engaged in. Ellison-Kramer has previous experience in Dubai, where she successfully defended an Austrian anaesthetist accused of murder in the country in 2009, according to the reports.
The Libyan Foreign Ministry has confirmed that militants had freed six Egyptian nationals, including five Embassy staffers, who had been abducted over the weekend. The six Egyptians were released on Sunday night. The Egyptians, including the cultural attaché and four embassy staffers, were kidnapped shortly after Egypt arrested Shabaan Hediya, a former leader of the Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room, a local armed group. On Sunday, Hediya told a private Libyan television channel that he had been released by Egyptian authorities. “My detention was the result of a misunderstanding regarding my papers,” he told the channel, adding that Egyptian authorities had treated him well. Hediya, who said he would be returning to Libya in two days, condemned the abduction of the Egyptian nationals. “The issue should have been left to diplomatic efforts,” he asserted, denying any links to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist group. Egyptian authorities have not yet confirmed the release of the abductees.
Egypt withdrew its embassy personnel from Tripoli, a spokesman for Libya’s Foreign Ministry said, after gunmen abducted five of them overnight apparently in retaliation for the arrest of a Libyan militia leader in Egypt. Egypt had earlier reported that its administrative attaché had been kidnapped in the Libyan capital. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Asswad said four other Egyptian diplomats were snatched in the early hours of Saturday. Those kidnapped included the cultural attache, he added. The abductions came hours after Libya’s state news agency reported that Egyptian authorities had arrested Shaaban Hadiya, the commander of the Revolutionaries Operation Room militia. The Libyan government blamed the group for the abduction of Prime Minister Ali Zidan last year. It claims to answer to the army but is widely seen as operating independently. Egypt’s state news agency says the embassy staffers were evacuated after the abductions. An airport official says that the military attache and other diplomats in the Egyptian embassy in Tripoli had arrived in Cairo with their families. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
An Iranian official has rejected reports that Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, who was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital Sana’a last July, has been killed. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Saturday rejected reports that the headless body discovered in Yemen belongs to the Iranian diplomat, saying the abducted Iranian diplomat is alive. The latest information confirms that the Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht is in good health and the Yemeni political and security officials deny speculations about his death, Amir Abdollahian added. He said Tehran has called on the Yemeni officials to seriously pursue the fate of the Iranian diplomat. Earlier on Saturday, a decapitated body was found in central Yemen which was believed to belong to Nikbakht. An unnamed Yemeni official said the beheaded body was found in the Safer oil-rich area in Maarib Province, Reuters reported. The condition of the body suggested that the victim had been killed on Friday, the Yemeni official added. Nikbakht was on his way to work from his home in the diplomatic quarter of Sana’a on July 21, 2013, when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him. Last week, commercial attaché of Iran Embassy in Yemen, Abolqasem Asadi, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in the Yemeni capital. The assailants first tried to kidnap Asadi but when they faced resistance, they opened fire on him. The diplomat, who sustained serious injuries, later passed away in hospital.
Four Egyptian Embassy staff have been kidnapped in the Libyan capital Tripoli, including a cultural attache, the Libyan Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, after an Egyptian administrative attache was abducted on Friday by unknown gunmen. No further details about the latest kidnappings were immediately available.
Israel’s internal security agency says it has foiled an al Qaeda plan to attack the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and hit other targets in the country. Shin Bet said it arrested three Palestinians it accuses of plotting to carry out bombings, shootings, kidnappings and other attacks. It said the men, two from Jerusalem and one from the West Bank, were recruited by an operative based in the Gaza Strip who worked for al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Shin Bet alleges the Palestinians planned on attacking a Jerusalem conference center with firearms and then kill rescue workers with a truck bomb. It said al Qaeda also planned to send foreign militants to attack the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the same day using explosives supplied by the Palestinians.