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Palestinian Hamas group not a terror organisation: Egypt Court

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Cairo:  The Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters on Saturday canceled a previous verdict labeling Palestinian Hamas group as a terror organisation.

The court accepted an appeal filed by the State Litigation Authority, which represents the Egyptian government, against the verdict that a lower court had issued on February 28, designating Islamic movement as a terrorist organisation.

The court said the lower court lacked jurisdiction to issue such a verdict in the first place, according to the report.

On February 28, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters made the ruling after an Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit in last November calling for banning Hamas and classifying it as a terror organisation.

The lawsuit argued that Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, used illegal underground tunnels connecting Egyptian Rafah to its twin Palestinian town to enter the country and smuggle weapons to attack Egyptian police and army personnel.

The lawsuit added that Hamas militants are also accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and killing over 30 people in late October 2014 as well as carrying out an armed jailbreak to free Brotherhood members during Egypt’s popular uprising in 2011.

On January 31, the same court listed al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, as a terrorist organisation. The court ruling came days after a series of bloody attacks occurred in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 soldiers and policemen.

In March 2014, the same court ordered to ban all activities and offices of Hamas in Egypt, considering the Palestinian movement an offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Islamist militant groups based in the Sinai Peninsula, of which some are accused of having links with the Hamas movement.

As a close ally to Morsi and his group, Hamas was not in good terms with the current Egyptian military-oriented leadership.

Meanwhile, the Hamas group has welcomed the overturning of a verdict, saying in a statement that the ruling was “a correction of a previous mistake”. (IANS)

 

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Water-Borne Illness Increases Sharply in Iraq

Iraq's individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage.

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Water crisis
A girl drinks water in the street outside her tent at a camp for internally displaced people in western Baghdad, Iraq. VOA

Iraqi health officials say that a health crisis stemming from water pollution and a shortage of clean drinking water has worsened in recent days, as hospitals in the southern port city of Basra treat more than 1,000 cases of intestinal infections on a daily basis. The problem was exacerbated several months ago when Turkey cut back on water distributed to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

A crowd of young men took to the streets on in the southern port city of Basra Tuesday, demanding the central government and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi increase the quantity of clean drinking water allotted to their province, otherwise it’ll lead to a health crisis. Abadi vowed to increase spending on infrastructure for the province during a visit to Basra in July.

A young man, whose friend was killed during a rally several weeks ago, broke down and sobbed over the protesters’ inability to force Iraqi leaders to improve the condition of public services in Basra, especially the region’s worn-out water infrastructure and insufficient quantities of drinking water allotted by the central government.

Some health officials in Basra warn that a cholera outbreak is possible due to water pollution and water-borne parasites that have made thousands of people sick in recent days. The director general of the Basra Health department, Riad Abdul Amir, told Al Hurra TV the situation continues to worsen.

He says more than 17,500 cases of intestinal ailments, resulting from contaminated drinking water, have been treated by Basra hospitals during the past two weeks, alone.

 

egypt. health crisis
The water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years. Pixabay

 

Abdul Amir says the problem stems from insufficient fresh water supplies coming into the city via canals and water pipes from the north.

“Salty water [which has infiltrated the water network],” he asserts, “is known to reduce the efficacy of chlorine used to treat and kill bacteria in drinking water,” he said.

Safaa Kazem, a docotor who has been treating dozens of cases of intestinal problems and diarrhea in Basra’s Sadr Teaching Hospital each day, says water from the city’s supply is not safe to drink.

She says the degree of water sterilization is minimal and that Basra’s water is very salty and has an extremely high level of microbes in it, along with a high degree of chemical pollution.

Basra Governor Assad al Edani told Al Hurra TV that his province has been suffering from numerous infrastructure problems for a long time.

He says the water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years and the old pipes often break, mixing drinking water with sewage.

water, health crisis
The degree of water sterilization is minimal. VOA

Edani says “not enough fresh water is arriving via the region’s only canal from Thi Qar province to the north.” He thinks a “strong current of fresh water will flush out salty water seeping into the water network from the sea.”

Also Read: Iraq Lifts Ban On International Flights to Kurdish Airports

Edani adds that the population of Basra has “more than doubled since the water network was last updated in the early 1990s.”

Iraq’s individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage, since Turkey in early June severely curtailed the number of cubic meters of water it funnels into both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (VOA)