Tag Archives: Al Qaeda

Terrorism has a new face

Egypt’s al-Zawahri, Bin Laden’s deputy, likely next leader of al-Qaida

By Hamza Hendawi,Lee Keath, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

CAIRO – For years, Osama bin Laden’s charisma kept al-Qaida’s ranks filled with zealous recruits.

But it was the strategic thinking and the organizational skills of his Egyptian right hand man that kept the terror network together after the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and pushed al-Qaida out.

With Bin Laden killed, Ayman al-Zawahri becomes the top candidate for the world’s top terror job.

It’s too early to tell how exactly al-Qaida would change with its founder and supreme mentor gone, but the group under al-Zawahri would likely be further radicalized, unleashing a new wave of attacks to avenge bib Laden’s killing by U.S. troops in Pakistan on Monday to send a message that it’s business as usual.

Al-Zawahri’s extremist views and his readiness to use deadly violence are beyond doubt.

In a 2001 treatise, “Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner,” he set down the longterm strategy for the jihadi movement — to inflict “as many casualties as possible” on the Americans, while trying to establish control in a nation as a base “to launch the battle to restore the holy caliphate” of Islamic rule across the Muslim world.

Unlike bin Laden who found his Jihadist calling as an adult, al-Zawahri’s activism began when he was in his mid-teens, establishing his first secret cell of high school students to oppose the Egyptian government of then President Anwar Sadat he viewed as infidel for not following the rule of God.

The doors of jihad opened for him when, as a young doctor, a visitor came to him with an offer to travel to Afghanistan to treat Islamic fighters battling Soviet forces. His 1980 trip to the Afghan war zone — only a few months long but the first of many — opened his eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.

What he saw there, he was to write 20 years later, was “the training course preparing Muslim mujahideen youth to launch their upcoming battle with the great power that would rule the world: America.”

The bond between al-Zawahri and bin Laden began in the late 1980s, when al-Zawahri reportedly treated the Saudi millionaire-turned-jihadist in the caves of Afghanistan as Soviet bombardment shook the mountains around them. The friendship laid the foundation for the al-Qaida terror network, which carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 suicide airplane hijackings that sparked the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan later that year.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden Enemy No. 1 to the United States. But he likely could never have carried it out without al-Zawahri. Bin Laden provided al-Qaida with the charisma and money, but al-Zawahri brought the ideological fire, tactics and organizational skills needed to forge disparate militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

“Al-Zawahri was always bin Laden’s mentor, bin Laden always looked up to him,” says terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University.

While bin Laden came from a privileged background in a prominent Saudi family of Yemeni descent, al-Zawahri had the experience of a revolutionary in the trenches. “He spent time in an Egyptian prison, he was tortured. He was a jihadi from the time he was a teenager, he has been fighting his whole life and that has shaped his world view,” Hoffman says.

Perhaps even more significant than al-Zawahri’s role before the 9/11 attacks was his task afterward, when the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan demolished al-Qaida’s safe haven and scattered, killed and captured its fighters and leaders. The blow was personal as well — al-Zawahri’s wife and at least two of their six children were killed in a U.S. airstrike in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

Al-Zawahri ensured al-Qaida’s survival, rebuilding al-Qaida’s leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and installing his allies as new lieutenants in key positions. Since then, the network inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

Meanwhile, al-Zawahri — with his thick beard, heavy-rimmed glasses and the prominent mark on his forehead from prostration in prayer — became the new face of al-Qaida, churning out Web videos and audiotapes while bin Laden faded from public view for long stretches.

In his videos, he lay down strategy, mocked the failures of former President George W. Bush and urged unity among jihadi ranks — wagging his finger to make his points, often with an automatic rifle visible by his side, the ideologue and the fighter at the same time.

“Bush, do you know where I am?” he sneered in a January 2006 video weeks after a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan that targeted him but missed. “I am among the Muslim masses … and I’m participating in their jihad until we defeat you.” A similar strike in October that year would also miss him.

It was the 2008 election of Obama to the U.S. presidency, however, that would present al-Zawahri with his greatest propaganda challenge as he sought to maintain Muslim anger against a U.S. leader of African origins with “Hussein” as middle name.

In one of his most infamous video messages issued two weeks after the election, al-Zawahri described Obama as “house negro,” a slur for blacks subservient to whites — even bin Laden was more sparing of Obama in his criticism of the new U.S. president.

But before al-Qaida — and before al-Zawahri focused his wrath on the “far enemy,” United States — his goal was to bring down the “near enemy,” the U.S.-allied government of then President Hosni Mubarak in his native Egypt.

He was born June 19, 1951, the son of an upper middle class family of doctors and scholars in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. His father was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University’s medical school and his grandfather, Rabia al-Zawahri, was the grand imam of Al-Azhar University, a premier centre of religious study.

From an early age, al-Zawahri was enflamed by the radical writings of Egyptian Islamist Sayed Qutb, who taught that Arab regimes were “infidel” and should be replaced by Islamic rule.

In the 1970s, even as he earned his medical degree as a surgeon, he was active in militant circles. He merged his own militant cell with others to form Islamic Jihad and began trying to infiltrate the military — at one point even storing weapons in his private medical clinic.

Then came the 1981 assassination of Sadat by militants from Islamic Jihad. The slaying was carried out by a different cell in the group — and al-Zawahri has written that he learned of the plot only hours before the assassination took place.

But he was arrested along with hundreds of other militants and served three years in prison. During his imprisonment, he was reportedly tortured heavily — one factor some have cited as pushing him into a more violent radicalism.

After his release in 1984, al-Zawahri returned to Afghanistan and joined the Arab militants from around the Middle East who were fighting alongside the Afghans against the Soviets. He began courting bin Laden, who was becoming a heroic figure among radicals for his financial support of the mujahideen, as well as fighting alongside them.

At the same time, al-Zawahri began reassembling Islamic Jihad and surrounded bin Laden with Egyptian members of Jihad such as Mohammed Atef and Saif al-Adel, who would one day play key roles in putting together the Sept. 11 attacks.

The alliance established al-Zawahri as bin Laden’s deputy and soon after came the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, followed by the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, an attack al-Zawahri is believed to have helped organize.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/egypts-al-zawahri-bin-ladens-deputy-likely-next-090006836.html


Obama kills Osama

Obama: US operation killed al-Qaida head bin Laden; US in possession of body

By Julie Pace,Matt Apuzzo, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the elusive mastermind behind the deadly Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan and later Iraq, was killed in a firefight, President Barack Obama said Sunday.

Bin Laden’s death at a compound in Pakistan ended the world’s most widely-watched manhunt, and jubilant crowds gathered outside the White House and at ground zero in New York as word spread late at night.

“Justice has been done,” the president said.

A small team of Americans killed bin Laden early Sunday in the town of Abbottabat, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of the capital Islamabad, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. The team took custody of his remains and American officials said they were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

The stunning end came just months before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden’s al-Qaida organization, that killed more than 3,000 people.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a written statement hailing bin Laden’s death as a momentous achievement.

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” Bush said.

Obama said he ordered the operation after receiving undisclosed intelligence information. Senior administration officials said the terrorist mastermind was found inside a custom-built compound with two security gates. They said it appeared to have been constructed to harbour one high-value target and that for undisclosed reasons, officials became clear the hideout was bin Laden’s.

The raid occurred in the early morning hours Sunday. Administration officials offered some details of the operation.

Based on statements given by U.S. detainees, intelligence officials have known for years that bin Laden trusted one al-Qaida courier in particular and they believed he might be living with him in hiding. In November, intelligence officials found out where he was living, a huge fortified compound. It was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet (5.5 metres), topped with barbed wire. There were two security gates and no phone or Internet running into the house.

Intelligence officials believed the $1 million home was custom-built to harbour a major terrorist. CIA experts analyzed whether it could be anyone else, but time and again, they decided it was almost certainly bin Laden.

Three adult males were also killed in Sunday’s raid, including one of bin Laden’s sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden’s sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaida.

Officials also said they believe the death puts al-Qaida on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse, but there was no word on the whereabouts of bin Laden’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri.

The attacks a decade ago seemed to come out of nowhere, even though al-Qaida had previously damaged American targets overseas.

The terrorists hijacked planes, flew one of them into one of Manhattan’s Twin Towers — and, moments later, into the other one. Both buildings collapsed, trapping thousands inside and claiming the lives of firefighters and others who had rushed to help them.

A third plane slammed into the Pentagon, defacing the symbol of America’s military might. A fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers and forced the craft from the air — before it could hit its intended target in Washington.

Obama spoke with Bush and former President Bill Clinton on Sunday night to inform them of the developments.

Obama struck a less than boastful tone in his brief announcement, although he said the death of bin Laden was “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida.

“His death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant,” he added.

Moments after he spoke, American officials cautioned that the events could lead to heightened threats against the United States.

Officials said the U.S. would ensure that bin Laden’s body was handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/source-al-qaida-head-bin-laden-dead-us-025557590.html


In ‘Gun’ we Trust

Libyan regime says it is arming civilians, teaching them how to shoot

By Karin Laub, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

GAZAHIYA, Libya – A 22-year-old university student balanced an unloaded grenade launcher on his shoulder, grunted loudly in place of an explosion as he pulled the trigger, then handed the weapon to the next man.

The military drill on the lawn of a clinic in a remote village in government-controlled western Libya was part of what Moammar Gadhafi‘s regime has tried to portray as a large-scale arming and training of the home front. Foreign reporters on a government tour were also taken to a school where a couple of teenage boys fired Kalashnikov rifles in the air.

The scenes appeared to have been hastily arranged. Men at a desert shooting range — barrels set up as targets on a rocky plain — said they had been bused to the site for the first time that day. A few dozen middle school boys were participating in a military rally in their school yard and some said they had received their fatigues just a day earlier.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said last week that hundreds of thousands of rifles were being distributed to civilians to defend the home front, a claim that is impossible to verify because of tight restrictions on journalists in western Libya. About a dozen Libyans interviewed in three different areas recently said they had been handed Kalashnikovs from municipal weapons depots.

The reports that the government was arming supporters to suppress anti-regime demonstrations in the capital Tripoli first emerged at the start of the uprising against Gadhafi in mid-February. The government claims it is arming people to defend against foreign ground troops — even though there are none in western Libya — rather than to fight fellow Libyans.

However, the attempt to show civilians training with weapons could be a sign that Gadhafi loyalists are growing more nervous about their grip on western Libya. There has been persistent fighting in two major pockets of rebel resistance in that part of the country, including the coastal city of Misrata where rebels have held out during a two-month onslaught.

Those training Wednesday in the Tarhouna district, 70 kilometres (45 miles) southeast of the capital of Tripoli, seemed unsure of who their enemy was. Some struggled with whether they would shoot at fellow Libyans who have risen up against Gadhafi and now control the east of the country.

Volunteers said they had been told they must defend their homes against NATO ground troops, but would not be asked to go to the front. Some dismissed the rebels as al-Qaida-led ex-convicts or foreigners, repeating government propaganda that has tried to paint the rebels as Islamic extremists.

High school student Sanna Kanouni, 16, said she was learning how to handle a rifle to repel the “barbarian, colonial crusader aggression.” Asked what she knew about the rebels in the east, she said they are drug-taking foreigners, not Libyans — mimicking a line also put out by the government.

In her crammed classroom a lesson in taking apart a Kalashnikov was under way. Kanouni briefly fumbled with the weapons parts, gave up and pumped her fist to the pro-Gadhafi chants of her classmates.

Outside the high school, students posed with Kalashnikovs, some of them firing in the air.

High school students in Libya have traditionally received some weapons training, students and teachers at the school said, though they disagreed on the starting age of military training and on what exactly was involved.

At an elementary and middle school in the nearby village of Sagya, two dozen boys who appeared to be around 11 or 12 years old and were dressed in military fatigues participated in a pro-Gadhafi rally on the school grounds.

They briefly marched and stood at attention. Their principal, Abdel Razek Mahmoudi, said the boys had started marching drills two weeks ago, but were not touching guns.

However, 11-year-old Abdullah Rajab Iyad, said he’d been allowed to handle a gun earlier that day. The principal, overhearing the conversation, abruptly led the boy away.

Men in their 20s fired wildly into the air in the school yard, from amid the children. The program ended with a competition among about 20 men to see who was fastest at taking apart a Kalashnikov and putting it back together again.

Abdel Monem al-Muftah, who oversees the training of civilians in Tarhouna, said about 200 people each have been trained at 15 sites, ranging in age from 18 to 70.

On the clinic grounds in Gazahiya, several dozen men sat in circles, each group learning about a different weapon. The training seemed basic at best.

Mohammed Jumma, a 22-year-old computer science student, was handed a rocket-propelled grenade launcher without ammunition. The instructor told him to make sure no one was behind him before he fired — the weapon sends out a powerful backblast. He then corrected Jumma’s stance, left foot forward if the launcher is on the right shoulder.

Jumma pulled the trigger. The anticlimactic click that followed was not deemed satisfying, and he was asked to fire again, this time with a loud yell, before the launcher was handed to the next in line.

Moammar al-Ghrara, a 37-year-old Arabic teacher, said he would command a group of 40 men if the time came to defend the neighbourhood. Al-Ghrara refused to entertain the thought that the rebels were ordinary Libyans.

When pressed, he said he would shoot at anyone, including Libyans, if they attacked his area.

The heavy weapons were displayed at the desert shooting range. Four men in fatigues crouching on the ground fired heavy machine-guns toward barrels. Others fired off grenade launchers and an anti-aircraft gun, to the chants of “Allahu Akbar.”

Omar Musbah Omar, 23, said he has been training off and on for the past month, and that he and each of his four brothers had been given Kalashnikovs to keep at home. He said he would never raise a weapon against a fellow Libyan.

But, he said: “We’re ready for NATO.”

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/libyan-regime-says-arming-civilians-teaching-them-shoot-183128927.html


Gadhafi blames al-Qaeda for Libyan riots

CBC

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi blamed international terrorism and al-Qaeda for brainwashing youth and spurring the turmoil in his country.

“What is happening now is not the people’s power. It is international terrorism lead by al-Qaeda,” Gadhafi said in a rambling 30-minute phone call broadcast live on state television Thursday.

“These people who are duping our children are insane and they couldn’t care less if your country is completely destroyed…. You are responsible for what happens to your country, be it peace or war.”

Gadhafi accused the extremist Islamic group for launching a campaign through mobile phones to harm Libyan youth and take them away from their parents.

He also blamed excessive use of drugs by youth, and urged their parents to reassert their authority.

“Come of out of your homes. Get your children back home. Arrest the offenders and take them to court. Rehabilitate your children,” Gadhafi, who appeared to be directing his speech to residents of Zawiya, a key city near an oil port and refineries, and the scene of violent uprisings.

He offered his condolences to the families of four security officers killed in clashes that have gripped the country since Feb. 18. At least 1,000 civilians have also been killed.

Gadhafi said he couldn’t understand why he had to leave. “There are people who have been in power longer than me, like Queen Elizabeth of Britain, and nothing has happened to her.”

He also lobbed a warning at foreign powers, saying, “If the situation gets worse, the oil flow will stop.”

Meanwhile, army units and militiamen loyal to Gadhafi struck back against protesters who have risen up in cities close to Tripoli Thursday, attacking a mosque where many had taken refuge and blasting its minaret and opening fire on others protecting a local airport.

The assaults aimed to push back a rebellion that has moved closer to Gadhafi’s bastion in the capital, Tripoli. The revolt has already broken away nearly the eastern half of Libya and unraveled parts of Gadhafi’s regime

In the latest blow to the Libyan leader, a cousin who is one of his closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, announced that he has defected to Egypt in protest against the regime’s bloody crackdown against the uprising, denouncing what he called “grave violations to human rights and human and international laws.”

In the city of Zawiya, 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, an army unit attacked a mosque where protesters had been camping inside and in a lot outside for several days, calling for Gadhafi’s ouster, a witness said.

The soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the mosque’s minaret with anti-aircraft missiles, he said. Some of the young men among the protesters had hunting rifles.

He said there were casualties, but couldn’t provide exact figures. He said a day earlier an envoy from Gadhafi had come to the city and warned protesters, “Either leave or you will see a massacre.”

After the assault, thousands massed in the city’s main Martyrs Square, shouting “leave, leave,” in reference to Gadhafi, he said.

“People came to send a clear message: we are not afraid of death or your bullets,” he said. “This regime will regret it. History will not forgive them.”

The other attack came at a small airport outside Misrata Libya’s third largest city, where rebels claimed control on Wednesday. Militiamen on Thursday attacked a line of residents who were protecting the facility, opening fire with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, said a resident who saw the assault

“They left piles of human remains and swamp of blood,” he said. “The hospitals are packed with those killed and injured.”

But he could not provide exact figures.

After the attack ended before noon, another Misrata resident said the local radio, now in opposition hands, urged people to march on the airport in support of the protesters. Both residents said the rebellion continues to control the city about 200 kilometres east ofTripoli. They and other witnesses around Libya spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Gadhafi’s crackdown has so far helped him maintain control of Tripoli, a city that holds about a third of Libya’s six million population. But the uprising by protesters, backed by army units that joined their ranks, has divided the country and threatened to push it toward civil war.

The leader’s cousin, Gadhaf al-Dam, is one of the most high level defections to hit the regime so far, after many ambassadors around the world, the justice minister and the interior minister all sided with the protesters. Gadhaf al-Dam belonged to Gadhafi’s inner circle, officially his liaison with Egypt, but he also served as Gadhafi’s envoy to other world leaders and frequently appeared by his side.

International momentum has been building for action to punish Gadhafi’s regime for the bloodshed.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the suffering in Libya “is outrageous and it is unacceptable,” and he directed his administration to prepare a full range of options, including possible sanctions that could freeze the assets and ban travel to the U.S. by Libyan officials.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/gadhafi-blames-al-qaeda-libyan-riots-20110224-060431-610.html

 


Arab Awakening

Citizens, ex-soldiers, labourers protest across Arab world

By: Associated Press

Protests in Tunisia and Egypt have inspired others around the world. Here is a look at the latest.

LIBYA

Egypt-inspired unrest spread against Libya’s longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday, with riot police clashing with protesters in the second-largest city of Benghazi and marchers setting fire to security headquarters and a police station in the city of Zentan, witnesses said.

Gadhafi’s government sought to allay further unrest by proposing the doubling of government employees’ salaries and releasing 110 suspected Islamic militants who oppose him — tactics similar to those used by other Arab regimes in the recent wave of protests.

Activists using Facebook and Twitter have called for nationwide demonstrations on Thursday to demand the ouster of Gadhafi, establishment of a constitution and comprehensive political and economic reforms. Gadhafi came to power in 1969 through a military coup and has ruled the country without an elected parliament or constitution.

The Benghazi protest began Tuesday and lasted until around 4 a.m. Wednesday. It was triggered by the arrest of an activist but quickly took on an anti-government tone, according to witnesses and other activists. The protest was relatively small, but it signalled that anti-government activists have been emboldened by uprisings elsewhere.

It started at the local security headquarters after troops raided the home of rights advocate Fathi Tarbel and took him away, according to Switzerland-based activist Fathi al-Warfali.

Tarbel was released after meeting with security official Abdullah al-Sanousi, but the protesters proceeded to march through the coastal city to the main downtown plaza, he said.

Families of other prisoners marched to security headquarters to protest the detention of Tarbel and another activist, writer Idris al-Mesmari, who remained in jail, al-Warfali reported, citing witnesses.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said a total of nine activists have been arrested in Tripoli and Benghazi in an effort to prevent people from joining Thursday’s rallies. Those protests were called to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the killing of nine people demonstrating in front of the Italian Consulate against a cartoon depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Independent confirmation was not possible because the government tightly controls the media, but video clips posted on the Internet showed protesters carrying signs and chanting: “No God but Allah. Moammar is the enemy of Allah,” and “Down, down to corruption and to the corrupt.”

Libya’s official news agency did not carry any reports of the anti-government protests. It reported only that supporters of Gadhafi demonstrated Wednesday in the capital, Tripoli, as well as Benghazi and other cities.

BAHRAIN

A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people joined a long and winding Shi’ite funeral procession for the man, shot dead on Tuesday when fighting erupted at the burial of another protester.

Around 2,000 others were camped out at a junction in the centre of the Gulf island kingdom’s capital, hoping to emulate the rallies on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. They demanded a change of government in Bahrain, where a Sunni family rules over a Shi’ite majority.

The protests, in their third day, are some of the most serious since widespread Shi’ite unrest of the 1990s, and appear to be driven by familiar complaints of economic hardship, lack of political freedom and sectarian discrimination.

“The people demand the fall of the regime!” protesters chanted as men pounded their chests in rhythm, a mourning gesture which is distinctive to the Shi’ite branch of Islam.

One demonstrator used a bullhorn to urge protesters to remain until their demands are met, as the Arab wave for change takes hold in the Gulf.

Near the protest site at Manama’s Pearl Roundabout, police kept their distance, massing on a nearby dirt lot in dozens of cars.

BOSNIA

Hundreds of former soldiers who once fought against each other have gathered in front of country’s Parliament to demand pensions promised to them by the authorities.

They were among the group of some 1,500 soldiers demobilized by government last year, and promised pensions in return for an early retirement.

Many of those protesting on Wednesday fought against each during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, when Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs of this country had their own armed forces.

The government said it will look for ways to meet their demands.

YEMEN

A 21-year old protester was shot dead after clashes broke out between police and demonstrators in south Yemen on Wednesday, his father said, as unrest spread across the Arabian Peninsula state.

It is the first known fatality of the demonstrations.

Mohammed Ali Alwani was among two people hit as police fired shots into the air to try to break up around 500 protesters gathered in the southern port town of Aden.

Yemen sent 2,000 policemen into the streets of the capital on Wednesday to try to put down days of protests against the president of 32 years, a key U.S. ally in battling Al Qaeda.

The policemen, including plainclothes officers, fired in the air and blocked thousands of students at Sanaa University from joining thousands of other protesters elsewhere in the capital who were holding a sixth straight day of demonstrations.

Taking inspiration from the toppling of autocratic leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, Yemen’s protesters are demanding political reforms and the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Their central complaints are poverty, unemployment and corruption.

Witnesses said police chained the university’s iron gates in order to prevent students from pouring into adjacent streets.

They said at least four protesters were wounded in scuffles with police.

EGYPT

Hundreds of airport employees protested inside the arrivals terminal at Cairo International Airport to press demands for better wages and health coverage. The protest did not disrupt flights.

In the industrial Nile Delta city of Mahallah al-Koubra, workers from Egypt’s largest textile factory went on strike over pay and calls for an investigation into alleged corruption at the factory, according to labour rights activist Mustafa Bassiouni.

The new warning Wednesday raised expectations of an outright ban on protests and strikes that could raise the tension level in a country already growing more nervous by the day over uncertainties about the future.

In Port Said, a coastal city at the northern tip of the Suez canal, about 1,000 people demonstrated to demand that a chemical factory be closed because it was dumping waste in a lake near the city.

IRAQ

Three people were killed and dozens wounded in the southern Iraqi city of Kut on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and protesters demanding better basic services, police and hospital sources said.

Protesters calling for the removal of corrupt officials and an improvement in basic services threw bricks and stones at Iraqi security forces and took over the city’s provincial and government buildings, the sources said.

“The toll from the violent actions of the demonstrations is three protesters killed and about 30 wounded, including 15 policemen from the facilities protection service,” a police source in Kut said.

A spokeswoman for a southern Iraqi province says around 2,000 people attacked government offices and tried to set fire to the governor’s house to protest often shoddy public services.

Following the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Iraqis have staged small-scale protests demanding better services, such as electricity.

SOUTH AFRICA

A South African resident says his son was killed during three days of protests in an area where residents say they lack basic services such as running water.

The man said Wednesday he was mourning his adult son who was killed Tuesday. He says the community would be better if people had job opportunities. Police say they are investigating the death.

Police fired rubber bullets Wednesday to disperse protesters in a third day of demonstrations in the eastern town of Ermelo. Police did not say if there were new injuries reported Wednesday.

Protests over poor government services are common in South Africa, where the gap between rich and poor is among the widest in the world.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/939621–citizens-ex-soldiers-labourers-protest-across-arab-world?bn=1