military

FILE PHOTO: An Iranian navy boat tries to stop the fire of an oil tanker after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian navy boat tackles a fire on an oil tanker after it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

June 18, 2019

By Babak Dehghanpisheh

GENEVA (Reuters) – If, despite its firm denials, Iran was behind attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf last week and a further four last month, they represent a calibrated yet risky pushback against a U.S. sanctions squeeze, regional experts say.

The targeting of six vessels on a major artery for world oil supplies was a vivid reminder of the stakes involved in the standoff pitting Iran against the United States and its regional allies.

The latest two attacks, on Thursday, were much more complex than last month’s because the tankers were moving rather than at anchor as previously, said Hossein Aryan, a military analyst who served 18 years in Iran’s navy before and after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Two government security sources, one American and one European, also noted the sophistication of the attacks, which damaged the tankers without seriously injuring anyone. They told reporters this indicated deliberate calculation.

The two sources, who declined to be named, said the attacks appeared designed to show that Iran could create chaos if it wanted to but at this point did not want to, perhaps in the hope of persuading the United States and other antagonists to back off rather than trigger conflict.

They did not provide direct evidence of Iranian involvement, but the United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran publicly for both sets of attacks.

Whereas some U.S. sources said they believed Iran encouraged allied militants or militia to carry out last month’s attacks, the U.S. military has released a video and still images which it says show Iran’s Revolutionary Guards removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the latest vessels to be targeted.

Tehran expressed concern over the May attacks and said the footage released after the latest ones by the United States military proved nothing and Iran was being made a scapegoat.

Germany said last week the video was not enough to apportion blame, while Britain said no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation.

The head of the company which owns the Japanese tanker hit said last week its crew had reported flying objects damaged the ship, but Aryan said whoever attacked it and a Norwegian tanker had attached magnetic limpet mines with a timer when they were anchored or using a boat or marine drone when they were moving.

Iran’s military said on Monday that if it decided to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital gateway in the Gulf for the oil industry, it would do so publicly, and both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have said Iran does not want war.

Tehran has been at pains to underline its capabilities, however.

“If attacked, we can make the maritime regions unsafe for the aggressors,” said an Iranian official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

BACKFIRED?

Ali Vaez, director of the Iran Project at the Crisis Group think-tank, and other regional sources said that if Iran was responsible, it was clearly trying to show it could threaten global oil supply with a view to deterring the U.S. and its allies from further ratcheting up the pressure.

Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and other regional rivals are backing U.S. efforts to cut off Iran’s oil exports with pledges to boost their own oil production to keep prices stable. But a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the Gulf of Oman and the attacks hit vessels on both sides of the waterway.

“The message being sent by Iran is that we can disrupt operations on east and west. If they can’t export, no one should,” said a Gulf industry source who asked not to be identified.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions, aiming to push Tehran to negotiate over its ballistic missile program and regional policy, which Washington says is destabilizing the Middle East.

Washington then sent an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the region last month in a show of force against what U.S. officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests there.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were defensive purposes, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.

Vaez said Tehran did not appear to have been cowed so far.

“The irony is that the U.S. maximum pressure strategy was supposed to temper Iranian behavior,” he said. “In practice, however, it has clearly backfired.”

LOW COST

Iran could use relatively inexpensive asymmetric attacks to inflict costly damage, according to Tom Sharpe, a former commander in Britain’s Royal Navy who is now a communications consultant.

“They have jet skis and fast boats that are trained for swarm attacks and just one £1,000 jet ski could disable a £1 billion warship,” he told Reuters.

Sharpe said the United States and Western allies were prepared to tackle such attacks.

But the ability of Iran-linked groups to strike goes beyond the Strait of Hormuz.

In the same week that the four oil tankers were attacked off the coast of the Emirates last month, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis struck two oil pumping stations within Saudi Arabia with armed drones.

A few days later, a rocket was fired near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which had already evacuated non-emergency staff a week after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise trip to Baghdad to talk to Iraqi officials about U.S. concerns of threats from Iran-backed militias.

Two Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups said talk of threats was “psychological warfare” by Washington.

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, both Iran and Iraq attacked tankers and merchant ships in the Gulf, which drew the United States into the conflict.

Iran learned lessons from that period, which became known as the “Tanker War,” and now has many more tools at its disposal, such as mines and speed boats, to use in asymmetric warfare to send a signal, Aryan said.

“That signal is to show to the Arab states and to the United States that, despite all their military might and presence in the region, the lines of communication in the region are vulnerable, to show that vulnerability.”

The danger for Iran, if it is pursuing that strategy, is that a small incident could quickly escalate, observers say.

“This is an extremely risky strategy,” said Ali Alfoneh, senior fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “The gamble of Islamic Republic strategists … may end up provoking a war Iran can ill afford.”

(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington, Julia Payne in London and Parisa Hafezi and Rania El Gamal in Dubai; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Myanmar Buddhist monk Wirathu speaks at a rally against constitution change in Yangon
FILE PHOTO: Myanmar Buddhist monk Wirathu speaks at a rally against constitution change in Yangon, Myanmar, May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File photo

June 18, 2019

By Thu Thu Aung

YANGON (Reuters) – A Myanmar official on Tuesday told a court that a nationalist Buddhist monk, Wirathu, who has evaded arrest on sedition charges, “incited hatred” against leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Wirathu last month but he has not been detained and has taunted authorities on social media.

Complainant San Min, an administrator in the city of Yangon, told the court he had been ordered by the office of President Win Myint, a close ally of Suu Kyi, to file a legal complaint against the monk.

“Wirathu’s speeches can cause disrespect and incite hatred in the people against Aung San Suu Kyi … (and) the government,” San Min said in his complaint.

Wirathu is infamous as a proponent of anti-Muslim rhetoric that has spread as Myanmar has transitioned from full military rule and as social media sites like Facebook have become popular.

He speaks in support of the military and opposes Nobel laureate Suu Kyi and her efforts to amend a 2008 charter that cements the generals’ power.

The sedition charge is related to his criticism of the government, not to his comments on Muslims.

The Western Yangon District Court on Tuesday held the first of several hearings to decide whether Wirathu should be formally declared a fugitive from the law, which requires a judge to rule there is evidence he broke the law.

A video was played of a speech Wirathu gave at a rally in Yangon last month, when he argued broadly against democratic governance and warned Myanmar would “drown in a muddy puddle” if its constitution was amended to reduce the political role of the military.

A transcript of a separate speech Wirathu gave in southern Myanmar in April, submitted to the court, records Wirathu crudely criticizing Suu Kyi’s relationships with foreigners. Suu Kyi married and had two sons with the late British academic Michael Aris.

“Tap, tap, tap go her high heels,” the monk said, according to the transcript, referring to when Suu Kyi meets foreigners.

A Buddhist nationalist group said on Monday that Wirathu’s “positive criticism” of Suu Kyi did not merit legal action.

Some human rights activists have said Wirathu should face action for inciting violence against Muslims, especially the Rohingya minority, rather than for comments critical of a politician.

Buddhist authorities have previously censured Wirathu, but a one-year order banning him from speeches expired this year.

(Reporting by Thu Thu Aung; Writing by Simon Lewis; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are pictured in the financial district of Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: Office buildings are pictured in the financial district of Frankfurt, Germany, September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

June 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – The mood among German investors deteriorated sharply in June, a survey showed on Tuesday, with the ZEW institute pointing to recent weak economic data and an escalating trade dispute between China and the United States.

ZEW said its monthly survey showed economic sentiment among investors plunged to -21.1 from -2.1 in May. Economists had expected a drop to -5.9.

The June reading was the lowest level since November 2018 and marked the second consecutive monthly drop.

ZEW President Achim Wambach said the steep drop was linked to greater uncertainty about the global economy and a downturn in data on the German economy at the start of the second quarter.

“The intensification of the conflict between the U.S. and China, the increased risk of a military conflict in the Middle East and the higher probability of a no-deal Brexit are all casting a shade on the global economic outlook,” he added.

A separate gauge measuring investors’ assessment of the economy’s current conditions edged down to 7.8 from 8.2 the previous month. Markets had predicted a slightly lower reading of 6.0.

The weaker-than-expected sentiment survey adds to signs that German economic growth will be meager this year and that an expected rebound in 2020 could be less impressive than forecast.

Germany’s influential Ifo institute earlier on Tuesday cut its 2020 growth forecast to 1.7% from 1.8% previously as it warned that a manufacturing recession was starting to spill over into other sectors.

The government expects the economy to grow by 0.5% this year and 1.5% next.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Martin)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania
FILE PHOTO: U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

June 18, 2019

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has ordered the arrest of 128 military personnel over suspected links to the network accused by Ankara of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

Police were looking for just over half of the suspects in the western coastal province of Izmir and the rest across 30 other provinces, Anadolu said.

They were suspected of being supporters of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Turkish authorities of masterminding the failed putsch three years ago. Gulen has denied any role.

More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while about 150,000 people from the civil service, military, and elsewhere have been sacked or suspended from their jobs under crackdowns since the attempted coup.

Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the scope of the crackdown, saying Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government has said the security measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces, and has vowed to eradicate Gulen’s network in the country.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood's newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo
FILE PHOTO – Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood’s newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

June 18, 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) – Former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has been buried alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, his son, Ahmed Mursi, said on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo’s Nasr City after authorities refused burial in Mursi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Mursi said.

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital … and the burial was at the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Ahmed wrote.

Mursi died on Monday from a heart attack after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities and a medical source said. He was 67.

Mursi, a top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.

His death is likely to pile international pressure on the Egyptian government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons where thousands of Islamists and secular activists are held.

(Reporting By Ali Abdelaty, writing by Sami Aboudi)

Source: OANN

U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Gallagher leaves court with his wife after the first day of jury selection at the court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego
U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves court with his wife Andrea, her name tattooed on his wrist, after the first day of jury selection at this court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

June 18, 2019

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Opening arguments are set to begin on Tuesday in the trial of a U.S. Navy SEAL court-martialed on charges of murdering a wounded Iraqi prisoner and shooting unarmed civilians, a war crimes case that has drawn the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump.

A jury was selected on Monday in the trial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, City News Service and the Fox affiliate in San Diego reported.

Gallagher, a 39-year-old career combat veteran, has denied all the charges but could face life in prison if convicted in the trial arising from his 2017 deployment to Mosul, Iraq.

The platoon leader is charged with murdering a wounded, helpless Islamic State fighter in his custody by stabbing him in the neck, and with attempted murder in the wounding of two civilians – a schoolgirl and an elderly man – shot from a sniper’s perch in Iraq.

He maintains that fellow SEAL team members in his platoon, who turned him in and are testifying against him under grants of immunity, are disgruntled subordinates who fabricated allegations to force him from command.

Details of the jury were not immediately available. A Navy spokesman said on Monday between 5 and 15 jurors would be selected from a pool, half of whom are officers and the other half enlisted men.

The proceedings in a military courthouse at U.S. Naval Base San Diego are due to last three weeks.

The prosecution’s case rests crucially on the SEAL team members’ testimony as there are no bodies or crime scenes from the Iraqi war zone. Names and other details about the alleged crimes were not disclosed.

PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT?

The opening of the trial was postponed several times by a lengthy round of proceedings to deal with defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

Gallagher’s lawyers sought dismissal of the charges after learning that Navy prosecutors had electronically tracked email communications of defense lawyers without a warrant, ostensibly to pinpoint the source of material leaked from sealed case files.

The presiding judge, a Navy captain, ultimately removed the lead prosecutor from the case and freed Gallagher from pre-trial confinement.

The judge also granted defense lawyers a potentially valuable edge in jury selection – the right to reject, with no reason given, two more potential jurors than they otherwise could exclude through the use of a peremptory challenge.

Before he was released from custody late last month, Gallagher had been ordered restricted to base at the nearby Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Trump said last month that he is considering pardons for a number of military service members accused of war crimes, and Gallagher’s case was believed to be one of those under review.

The prospect of presidential clemency seemed heightened by last month’s appointment to Gallagher’s defense team of Marc Mukasey, one of Trump’s personal lawyers.

Gallagher’s lead civilian attorney, Timothy Parlatore, has said his client has not sought a pardon.

(Reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman and Rich McKay; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

A Rohingya refugee child looks at others studying at a makeshift madrasa at the Burma Para refugee camp near Cox's Bazar
A Rohingya refugee child looks at others studying at a makeshift madrasa at the Burma Para refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

June 18, 2019

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – There was a “systemic failure” of the United Nations in dealing with the situation in Myanmar ahead of a deadly 2017 military crackdown because it did not have a unified strategy and lacked Security Council support, according to an internal report.

The crackdown drove more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. U.N. investigators have said the operation was executed with “genocidal intent” and included mass killings, gang rapes and widespread arson.

Myanmar denies widespread wrongdoing and says the military campaign across hundreds of villages in northern Rakhine was in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.

“Without question serious errors were committed and opportunities were lost in the U.N. system following a fragmented strategy rather than a common plan of action,” wrote former Guatemalan foreign minister and U.N. ambassador Gert Rosenthal in a 34-page internal review, seen by Reuters prior to its publication on Monday.

“The overall responsibility was of a collective character; in other words, it truly can be characterized as a systemic failure of the United Nations,” wrote Rosenthal, who was appointed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this year to look at U.N. involvement in Myanmar from 2010 to 2018.

He said senior U.N. officials in New York could not agree on whether to take a more robust public approach with Myanmar or pursue quiet diplomacy and that conflicting reports on the situation were also sent to U.N. headquarters from the field.

The United Nations struggled to balance supporting the Myanmar government with development and humanitarian assistance, while also calling out the authorities over accusations of human rights violations, Rosenthal concluded.

“The United Nations system … has been relatively impotent to effectively work with the authorities of Myanmar to reverse the negative trends in the area of human rights and consolidate the positive trends in other areas,” he said.

“The United Nations’ collective membership, represented by the Security Council, bears part of that responsibility, by not providing enough support to the secretariat when such backing was and continues to be essential,” Rosenthal wrote.

The 15-member Security Council, which visited Myanmar’s Rakhine state last year, has been deadlocked with Myanmar allies China and Russia pitted against western states over how to deal with the situation.

Human Rights Watch said the report was disappointing, given the scale of the Rohingya crisis, for not identifying specific U.N. officials responsible for the failures.

“The report now looks increasingly like a check-the-box exercise by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, designed to show commitment to accountability when in reality it accomplishes exactly the opposite,” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy director for Asia, said in a statement.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Rosenthal’s report was due to be sent to all 193 U.N. members states.

“Its conclusions and observations have been fully accepted by the Secretary-General, and he will work very closely with the senior leadership to make sure they’re implemented,” he said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; additional reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Susan Thomas & Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

U.S. military releases new images from oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman
A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17 shows what the Pentagon says is a view of internal hull penetration and blast damage sustained from a limpet mine attack on the starboard side of the Japanese owned motor tanker Kokuka Courageous in the Guld of Oman in the waters between Iran and Guld States on June 13, 2019. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

June 17, 2019

By Parisa Hafezi and Steve Holland

DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive purposes,” citing concerns about a threat from Iran.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said in a statement.

Reuters first reported plans to send U.S. additional troops to the Middle East earlier on Monday.

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked, more than a year after President Donald Trump announced Washington was withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran said on Monday it would soon breach limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the deal, which a White House National Security Council spokesman said amounted to “nuclear blackmail.”

The 2015 accord, which Iran and the other signatories have maintained following Trump’s decision, caps Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium at 300 kg enriched to 3.67 percent.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom and Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and William Schomberg in London, Francois Murphy in Vienna, Robin Emmott in Brussels, and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Alistair Bell, Grant McCool; Editing by William Maclean, Cynthia Osterman and Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo
FILE PHOTO: Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Nadine Awadalla and Enas al-Ashray

CAIRO (Reuters) – Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, the first democratically elected head of state in Egypt’s modern history, died on Monday aged 67 after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities said.

Mursi, a top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.

His death is likely to pile up international pressure on the Egyptian government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons where thousands of Islamists and secular activists are held.

The public prosecutor said he had collapsed in a defendants’ cage in the courtroom shortly after addressing the court, and had been pronounced dead in hospital at 4:50 p.m. (1450 GMT). It said initial checks had shown no signs of recent injury on his body.

The Muslim Brotherhood described Mursi’s death as a “full-fledged murder” and called for masses to gather at his funeral in Egypt and outside Egyptian embassies around the world.

Mursi’s family previously said his health had deteriorated in prison and that they were rarely allowed to visit.

His son, Abdullah Mohamed Mursi, told Reuters that the family had not been contacted about the details of the burial and were only communicating with the family through their lawyers.

Mursi’s son had said earlier that authorities were refusing to allow him to be laid to rest in the family burial grounds in his native Nile Delta province of Sharqiya.

“We know nothing about him and no one is in touch with us, and we don’t know if we are going to wash him or say a prayer to him or not,” he said.

Amnesty International called for an “impartial, thorough and transparent” investigation into Mursi’s death.

“The news of Mohamed Mursi’s death in court today is deeply shocking and raises serious questions about his treatment in custody,” the group said in a statement. “Egyptian authorities had the responsibility to ensure that, as a detainee, he had access to proper medical care.”

British MP Crispin Blunt, who had led a delegation of UK lawmakers and lawyers last year in putting out a report on Mursi’s detention, slammed the conditions of Mursi’s incarceration.

“We want to understand whether there was any change in his conditions since we reported in March 2018, and if he continued to be held in the conditions we found, then I’m afraid the Egyptian government are likely to be responsible for his premature death,” he said in remarks to the BBC.

DECADES OF REPRESSION

After decades of repression under Egyptian autocrats, the Brotherhood won a parliamentary election after a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak and his military-backed establishment in 2011.

Mursi was elected to power in 2012 in Egypt’s first free presidential election, having been thrown into the race at the last moment by the disqualification on a technicality of millionaire businessman Khairat al-Shater, by far the Brotherhood’s preferred choice.

His victory marked a radical break with the military men who had provided every Egyptian leader since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.

Mursi promised a moderate Islamist agenda to steer Egypt into a new democratic era in which autocracy would be replaced by transparent government that respected human rights and revived the fortunes of a powerful Arab state long in decline.

But the euphoria that greeted the end of an era of presidents who ruled like pharaohs did not last long.

The stocky, bespectacled engineer, born in 1951 in the dying days of the monarchy, told Egyptians he would deliver an “Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation.”

Instead, he alienated millions who accused him of usurping unlimited powers, imposing the Brotherhood’s conservative brand of Islam and mismanaging the economy, all of which he denied.

STATE OF ALERT

Security sources said the Interior Ministry had declared a state of alert on Monday, notably in Sharqiya.

Mursi had been in court for a hearing on charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which had close ties to the Brotherhood.

A source who was in the court at the time told Reuters that Mursi spoke for around 15 minutes and concluded with a line of poetry about his love for Egypt, before collapsing as the other defendants began banging on the soundproof cage.

His body was taken to the Tora prison hospital, state television reported. A heavy security presence was outside the prison on Monday night.

Mursi’s lawyer said his health had been poor in jail. “We had put in several requests for treatment, some were accepted and others were not,” the lawyer, Abdel-Menem Abdel-Maqsood, told Reuters.

Mursi was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012, and a life sentence for espionage in a case related to the Gulf state of Qatar. He had denied the charges.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan mourned his fellow Islamist as a martyr.

“Putting doubts aside, he has become a martyr today with the fulfillment of God’s order. … Our prayers are with him,” Erdogan said.

“Condolences to all my brothers who walked the same path as he did. Condolences to the people of Egypt. Condolences to his family and those close to him.”

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said Mursi had “served Egypt and the (Muslim) nation and the Palestinian cause.”

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a backer of Mursi and his Brotherhood, tweeted his condolences to Mursi’s family “and to the brotherly Egyptian people.”

Egyptian state media carried brief reports of Mursi’s death that made no mention of his former position as president.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdullah and Enas al-Ashray; Additional reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan and Haithem Ahmed in Cairo, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Kucukgocmen in Turkey; Writing by Nadine Awadalla and Sami Aboudi; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Toby Chopra and Richard Chang)

Source: OANN

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Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi has collapsed during a court session and died, Egyptian state TV said today.

The 67-year-old apparently fainted during a hearing where he faced espionage charges.

Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, served as the fifth President of Egypt from June 2012 and July 2013. He was removed by military coup, following massive protests by Egyptians. Following his removal from office he faced a string of serious charges, including inciting the killing of his opponents.

He was sentenced to death on espionage, prison break and terrorism charges in May 2015, but the ruling was overturned the following year.

Situation is breaking and will be updated.

Source: The Washington Pundit


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