Government sites hacked
Several government Web sites were sabotaged in a series of heavy cyberattacks from abroad in recent days, disabling them briefly until the attacks were repelled, the government said. An investigation traced the “coordinated and simultaneous attacks” to hundreds of Internet protocol addresses in a number of countries, an unnamed source at the Ministry of the Interior told state news agency SPA. The ministry’s site crashed on Wednesday after it received a “huge amount” of service requests, but was back online less than two hours later, the source said.
Official’s father abducted
Gunmen abducted the elderly father of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal Muqdad on Saturday, apparently in reprisal for the arrest of one of their relatives, according to a government source and a watchdog. “Today armed men abducted Mr Muqdad’s father from his home in the village of Ghossom,” in Daraa Province, the source said on condition of anonymity “They beat him up in front of his family, then took him to Daraa City,” the source said, adding that Muqtad’s father is 84. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the abduction, which was first reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told reporters that Muqdad’s father, who was not named, was seized “in reprisal for the arrest by regime forces of relatives of one of the armed men.” Abdel Rahman said negotiations to free him were underway.
Two men hung for spying
The government hanged two convicted spies yesterday, one found guilty of working for Israel, the other for the US, the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office announced. Mohammad Heydari was convicted of “receiving payment to provide intelligence on various security issues and national secrets in repeated meetings with the Mossad,” Israel’s intelligence agency, a statement said. Koroush Ahmadi was found guilty of “providing intelligence on various issues to the CIA.” The statement did not give further details. Tehran accuses archfoes Israel and the US of waging a deadly campaign of sabotage against its nuclear program and has announced a string of arrests of alleged agents in recent years.
Baggage handlers strike
Officials say baggage handlers in Cairo International Airport have gone on strike to protest a colleague’s death, leaving passengers on 20 international flights from Europe and Arab countries waiting several hours for luggage. Airport officials say senior officials from national carrier EgyptAir are meeting the baggage handlers to hear their demands, which include guarantees of safer working conditions. The strike started on Saturday after a baggage handler for EgyptAir died when a conveyer belt used to unload luggage fell on his head. Airport officials say it took more than an hour for the ambulance to arrive at the scene from the airport’s onsite hospital.
‘Red Shirts’ rally in Bangkok
About 20,000 ‘Red Shirt’ protesters rallied in Bangkok yesterday to mark the third anniversary of a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests that saw about 90 people killed and almost 1,900 wounded in a series of street clashes in May 2010. Roads were blocked as Red Shirts, loyal to ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, massed at an intersection in a main shopping district.