Ashraf Sweilam

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Latest by Ashraf Sweilam


Egyptian military closing Gaza tunnels, say officials

CAIRO: Egypt’s military began an operation to close a network of smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border following tension with Israel, security officials said Saturday. Hundreds of tunnels snake under the 14-kilometer border, where smugglers bring Gaza supplies and fuel limited by an Israeli blockade. Israel charges Gaza’s Hamas rulers get weapons, ammunition and rockets …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egyptian border guards kill Eritrean migrant

EL-ARISH: An Egyptian security official says an African migrant bled to death after being shot in the leg by border guards as he tried to cross into Israel. The official says the shooting occurred early Wednesday near the Rafah crossing. He says the migrant was a 36-year-old Eritrean who paid Bedouin traffickers about $1,000 to …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egyptian tribesmen attack Gaza convoy, say officials

AL-ARISH: Egyptian security officials say Bedouin tribesmen attacked a humanitarian convoy bound for Gaza after a shootout with police in the Sinai Peninsula. The officials say the police went to a Bedouin village searching for a fugitive but that tribesmen opened fire at them. They say no one was hurt in the shootout, or in …

Ashraf Sweilam

Sandstorm sweeps across Egypt, closing ports

EL-ARISH: A sandstorm sweeping across parts of Egypt has forced the closure of ports at the mouth of the Suez Canal and a major desert highway through the Sinai Peninsula. The dust reduced visibility, and winds whipped up 3.5-meter (11-foot) waves on the Red Sea. Maj. Gen. Mamdouh Diraz, head of the Ports Authority, said …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt: Border guards wound 5 illegal migrants

RAFAH: An Egyptian security official says border guards have shot and wounded five African migrants and arrested 15 others trying to cross illegally into Israel. The official said the guards first fired warning shots Saturday to stop the migrants from crossing the border south of Rafah and at the Al-Kontella crossing with Israel. The official …

Ashraf Sweilam

African migrant killed trying to cross into Israel

RAFAH: An Egyptian security official says border guards fatally shot an African migrant and detained 16 others as they tried to cross the border into Israel. The official said the shot migrant, whose nationality was not known, refused to surrender after guards fired warning shots south of Rafah early Sunday. He spoke on condition of …

Ashraf Sweilam

Three crew members die in Egypt cruise liner accident

AL-ARISH: A luxury cruise liner carrying nearly 1,500 passengers slammed into the pier as it docked at an Egyptian Red Sea resort in fierce winds, leaving three crew members dead, officials said. The ship s owner, Costa Crociera, said the vessel was damaged on the right side after it banged into the pier at about …

Ashraf Sweilam

A ton of explosives seized near Gaza border

RAFAH: An Egyptian security official says police have seized a pickup truck loaded with a ton of explosives near the country s volatile border with the Gaza Strip. The official said smugglers abandoned the truck when police in the border town of Rafah chased them. He said several automatic weapons and munitions also were found …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egyptian patrol besieged by smugglers near Gaza

RAFAH: Bedouin gunmen ambushed an Egyptian patrol that had seized contraband cement destined for the Gaza Strip, triggering an hours-long standoff in the desert that left one officer and five troops wounded, security officials said Tuesday. The security force, reinforced with two armored cars and nearly a dozen police vans, had acted on a tip …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt guards shoot Eritrean headed for Israel

RAFAH: Egyptian border guards have fatally shot an Eritrean man and wounded another trying to cross the border with Israel. It is the eighth African shot at the border this month. Security and hospital officials say the men were illegal migrants trying to cross into Israel near the Egyptian border town of Rafah on Tuesday. …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt injures African, arrests 18 at Israel border

RAFAH: Egyptian officials say border guards have wounded an African migrant woman and arrested 18 men from Ethiopia and Eritrea trying to cross illegally into Israel. Security and medical officials say border guards tried to stop the woman from crossing early Sunday south of the Rafah border crossing. They say the guards first fired warning …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt guards kill 4 Africans migrants near Israel

RAFAH: Egyptian border guards have fatally shot four African men and wounded three others trying to cross the border with Israel. Security and hospital officials say the men were a group of illegal migrants trying to get to Israel from the southern town of Rafah on Tuesday. They say the migrants ignored warning shots. The …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egyptian police kill Bedouin man in Sinai

RAFAH: An Egyptian security official says police opened fire on two vehicles that shot at a major security checkpoint in northern Sinai, killing one of the attackers. The official says the dead man was from a major Bedouin tribe, a group of disaffected nomads who often protest against government neglect and security crackdowns following terrorist …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt says 13 Lebanese, Sudanese hiding in Sinai

AL-ARISH: Egyptian police are tracking down 13 members of an alleged Hezbollah cell believed to be hiding out with the Bedouins in the rugged Sinai peninsula, a security official said Monday. The men are thought to be 10 Lebanese and three Sudanese – part of a group of 49 members of an alleged Hezbollah cell …

Ashraf Sweilam

11 killed, 36 injured in road accident

AL-ARISH: An Egyptian medical official says 11 people died and 36 others injured when their speedy bus overturned several times in central Sinai. Dr Ahmed Abdullah, head of Al-Arish hospital in northern Sinai, says the passengers were all laborers from southern Egypt. He says they were heading across the Sinai Peninsula to Jordan for work …

Ashraf Sweilam

Hamas members stopped from smuggling cash to Gaza

CAIRO: Two Hamas officials returning from Egypt were caught trying to cross the Gaza border Tuesday with nearly $850,000 stuffed into candy tins, an Egyptian security official said. Gaza s Hamas rulers are dependent on the smuggling of cash and goods to keep their government afloat because the coastal territory has been subject to an …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt cracks down on smugglers near Gaza

RAFAH: Egyptian police have arrested 40 suspected smugglers and seized contraband goods in a new crackdown on smuggling along the country s border with the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian security official said Thursday. The official said hundreds of security forces have been deployed in and around the town of Rafah, located along the sensitive border …

Ashraf Sweilam

Booby-trapped suitcase discovered, say police

AL-ARISH: An Egyptian security official says a booby trapped suitcase carrying 25 kilograms of explosives was defused near the Egyptian border with Israel and Gaza. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said security was tipped off Tuesday about an object left near a …

Ashraf Sweilam

9 dead, 6 injured in Egyptian bus crash

AL-ARISH: An Egyptian police official says a truck has slammed into a minibus traveling through the Sinai Desert, killing nine passengers and injuring six others. The official says the minibus was carrying 14 workers to a cement factory in central Sinai when it was struck by a large truck, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of …

Ashraf Sweilam

Three Italians die in road accident

EL-ARISH: Three Italian tourists died Friday when their minibus overturned on a coastal road in the Sinai Peninsula, police and hospital officials said. Three other Italians and two Egyptians – the group s driver and the tourist guide – were injured in the late evening accident near the Red Sea resort of Dahab, 380 km …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt arrests 11 African migrants at Israel border

AL-ARISH: An Egyptian security official says border guards have arrested 11 African migrants in a pair of incidents near the Israeli border. The official says the first group of nine Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants had spent three nights in a mountainous area of the central Sinai peninsula before being caught while attempting to cross into …

Ashraf Sweilam

US delegation trains Egyptian border guards on 'counter-tunneling'

RAFAH, Egypt: An Egyptian security official says that a US military delegation is setting up tunnel detection equipment to counter smuggling on the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip. The delegation, which includes engineers, is also training Egyptian border guards to use the equipment, the official added on condition on anonymity because he was not …

Ashraf Sweilam

Police uncover weapons cache inside a Sinai mountain

AL-ARISH: An Egyptian police official says boxes of ammunitions, RPGs and anti-aircraft missiles have been uncovered inside a mountain in the northern Sinai peninsula. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said the weapons were to be smuggled into the neighboring Gaza Strip. The …

Ashraf Sweilam

Police uncover 200kg TNT cache in central Sinai

EL-ARISH: An Egyptian security official says police uncovered an explosives cache containing 200kg of TNT hidden in sacks in the Sinai peninsula. The official says the cache was buried in a deserted area near the central Sinai town of Nekhel, around 150 km south of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt detains 6 African migrants trying to sneak into Israel

AL-ARISH: An Egyptian security official says police have detained six African migrants, including three children, who were trying to sneak into Israel. The official says the group included three children and two adults from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur and one adult from Eritrea. The group was detained Saturday in the Contella area, some …

Ashraf Sweilam

Border guards kill Eritrean migrant, injure 2

RAFAH: An Egyptian security official says border guards have fired at a group of four migrants trying to illegally cross into Israel from Sinai, killing one Eritrean and injuring another as well as a Sudanese national. A third Eritrean from the group has been arrested. The official says the four ignored warning shots by guards …

Ashraf Sweilam

Sudanese suspected of planning suicide attacks in Egypt on the run

AL-ARISH: Egyptian security forces launched a search late Friday for two Sudanese suspected of planning attacks against government installations and tourist resorts in the Sinai, an Egyptian security official said. The suspects are believed to be driving in an explosives-laden Toyota pickup truck, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not …

Ashraf Sweilam

Troops discover another underground tunnel by Egypt-Gaza border

RAFAH: An Egyptian security official says another underground tunnel has been found just a few meters away from the Egypt-Gaza border. The official says the tunnel appears to have been used to smuggle weapons and contraband between Egypt and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. It was detected early Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity …

Ashraf Sweilam

Egypt opens Rafah terminal for a day to allow in stranded Egyptians

RAFAH: Egyptian authorities opened Rafah terminal on the Egypt-Gaza border for a single day on Tuesday to let around 350 Egyptians stuck in Gaza Strip for the past two months to return home, a security official said.According to the official, the stranded Egyptians crossed into Gaza when Hamas blew up parts of the border wall …

Ashraf Sweilam