Army kills 16 Sinai militants
The army on Saturday said it had killed 16 Islamists in Sinai, and a new group said it carried out a bomb attack on police in Cairo, underscoring the widening scope of militant violence since the army removed former president Mohamed Morsi from power. The army said its aircraft hit radical Islamists near Sinai’s border with the Gaza Strip on Friday evening. A statement described them as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which denies government accusations it has turned to violence. The army has been trying to wrestle control of North Sinai from armed Islamists who have turned their focus from Israel to the government since Morsi, a Brotherhood member, was deposed in July last year following mass protests against his rule. The state has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group. The Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism.
Ceasefire violations alarm US
The US raised alarm on Saturday over repeated claims that both the government and rebels are breaking a deal to stop weeks of bloodshed in which thousands have been killed. Ceasefire monitors were deployed this week amid clashes that have continued despite the deal signed last month by the government and rebels, brokered by the East African bloc known as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. “We are deeply concerned by reports of violations by both the government of South Sudan and anti-government forces of the cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on January 23,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. She called on the South Sudanese government to facilitate the ceasefire monitors’ “important work” to allow both sides to report any breaches of the agreement.
Woman lived with corpse
A reclusive middle-aged woman has been found to be living alongside the badly decomposed body of her elderly mother thought to have died several years ago, prosecutors said on Saturday. Officers discovered the corpse in the women’s shared home in the village of Mael-Carhaix in the northwestern Brittany region on Friday, deputy prosecutor Patrick Lewden said, confirming local media reports. “This person had not been seen since 2010,” Lewden said, adding that an autopsy would be carried out to determine when she died. The deceased woman was born in 1921. She lived alone with her 66-year-old daughter, who appeared to be suffering from mental health problems. “Considering her mental state, [the daughter] had to be taken to a psychiatric hospital. She is very confused and could not be questioned,” Lewden said. Police searched the women’s house after local authorities expressed concern about the mother’s apparent disappearance.
‘Quenelle’ comic defiant
A comic whose gesture touched off allegations of anti-Semitism and prompted a government ban on his shows is defiant, saying the “quenelle” has nothing to do with the Nazi salute. “Of course it’s not an anti-Semitic gesture. I’m going to repeat it 20 times. It’s a gesture of emancipation, of panache,” Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala said on Friday. Soccer player Nicolas Anelka faces an English Football Association disciplinary hearing after formally denying a racism charge for celebrating a goal with the gesture. Dieudonne was banned on Monday last week from entering the UK in a trip he had planned as a show of support for Anelka.