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MID-EAST

TUESDAY 25 APRIL 2017,

SAUDI GAZETTE

5

Hundreds flee Mosul fighting as

others return to former Daesh areas

now lives in rubble because he

has nowhere to escape to.

Others were walking back

into the city, eager to reclaim

their homes after their neigh-

borhoods had been retaken from

Daesh by US-backed security

forces.

“We left because of the air

strikes but have now returned.

But we want the government to

restore services like electricity

and water and to allow us to drive

instead of using carts,” said Mo-

saab Mohamed who was walking

back into Mosul with his family.

Iraqi forces have taken much

of Mosul from the militants who

overran the city in June 2014. The

military now controls the eastern

districts and are making advanc-

es in the west.

Daesh fighters, holding out

in the Old City, are surrounded

in the northwest and are using

booby traps, sniper and mortar

fire to defend themselves.

Three policemen were killed

in a suicide attack south of Mo-

sul. A group of about 10 assail-

ants, including four suicide

bombers, had tried to infiltrate

a Federal Police helicopter base

in Al-Areej, a police captain told

Reuters.

Those who have returned say

the government has been slow to

restore services even to western

districts that had been retaken a

while ago.

“We are besieged in the Re-

sala area. There are stray bullets

from other areas where there

is fighting; three children have

died,” said Mohamed Sobhi.

“Water and aid cannot reach us.

I call on the government to redis-

tribute the people in areas like ours

into other safer areas in Mosul.”

Hundreds of thousands of ci-

vilians are still trapped in west-

ern Mosul, where Iraqi forces

are making slow progress against

Daesh in what is a labyrinth of

narrow streets.

As of April 20, some 503,000

people have been displaced from

Mosul since October, according

to government figures provided

by the U.N. refugee agency UN-

HCR. The UN migration agency,

the IOM, puts the displaced fig-

ure at 334,518 people as of April

23.

— Reuters

A displaced Iraqi woman and children are transported in a cart as the battle between the Iraqi Counter Terrorism

Service and Daesh militants continues nearby, in western Mosul, Iraq.

— Reuters

Lockerbie bomber’s

family launches new

bid to clear his name

LONDON —

The family of

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset

Al-Megrahi is launching a fresh

effort to posthumously clear his

name.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar will be

handing a dossier of evidence to

the Scottish Criminal Cases Re-

view Commission (SCCRC) as

soon as this week. The commis-

sion will decide whether to hand

the case to an appeals court.

Al-Megrahi was convicted

of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103

over the Scottish town of Locker-

bie on Dec. 21, 1988.

The bomb shattered the New

York-bound Boeing 747, killing

all 259 people aboard and 11 on

the ground. Many victims were

American college students flying

home for Christmas.

Al-Megrahi lost one appeal

and abandoned another before

being freed in 2009 on compas-

sionate grounds. He died of can-

cer in 2012, still protesting his

innocence.

He is the only person to have

been found guilty of Britain’s

worst act of terrorism.

The Libyan’s widow Aisha

and his son Ali met recently An-

war.

Relatives of some of the

victims — led by Dr Jim Swire,

whose daughter Flora died on

Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi

Erdogan accuses researcher of ‘inciting assassination’

Istanbul —

President Recep

Tayyip Erdogan’s lawyer has

lodged a complaint against a

French political scientist accus-

ing him of inciting an assassina-

tion of the Turkish leader, the

state-run news agency reported

on Monday.

The allegations against the

French researcher follow com-

ments he made about the out-

come of the April 16 referendum

on controversial constitutional

changes that will tighten the

president’s grip on power.

Philippe Moreau Defarges, a

researcher at the French Institute

of International Relations, said

all legal paths to challenge Erdo-

gan had been shut off and that the

only two options left were civil

war or assassination.

The ‘Yes’ camp won just over

51 percent, a narrower-than-ex-

pected victory, but the country’s

top election board last week re-

jected opposition calls to annul

the referendum after complaints

of vote-rigging.

Defarges said on French

broadcaster BFM on Saturday

that Erdogan’s strengthened

powers would lead “only to ca-

tastrophe”.

“There will either be a civil

war or another scenario... his as-

sassination.”

Huseyin Aydin, a lawyer rep-

resenting Erdogan, said Defarges’

comments were not a simple ex-

pression of opinion.

The comments were “clearly

instigating the crime in ques-

tion,” Aydin said in a four-page

complaint submitted to an An-

kara prosecutor, quoted by state-

run Anadolu news agency.

AFP

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan poses with children during a ceremony

to mark the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day at the Presidential

Palace in Ankara, Turkey.

— Reuters

Family: Iran rejects

detained British-Iranian

woman’s appeal

DUBAI —

The family of a Brit-

ish-Iranian woman detained in

Iran while on a trip with her tod-

dler daughter says all efforts to

appeal her five-year prison sen-

tence in court have failed.

The husband of Nazanin

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works

for the Thomson Reuters Foun-

dation, the charitable arm of

the news agency, found out this

weekend her appeal to Iran’s su-

preme court failed.

Husband Richard Ratcliffe

said on Monday his wife has still

not been allowed to know the

exact charges for which she was

convicted.

He says her family wants

the British government to pub-

licly call for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s

release, rebut the Iranian allega-

tions against her and have the

British ambassador in Tehran

visit her in prison.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

10 killed as

militants

ambush

convoy with

off-duty Iraq

soldiers

BAGHDAD —

Militants

in Iraq ambushed a con-

voy of off-duty soldiers

near a town in the coun-

try’s sprawling western

desert, killing at least 10

and wounding 20, offi-

cials said on Monday.

Iraqi Maj. Emad al-

Dulaimi said the attack

took place the night be-

fore near the town of

Rutba. The militants were

armed with assault rifles

and rockets. Al-Dulaimi

said he blamed the Islam-

ic State group.

The Daesh (the so-

called IS) group later in

the day took responsibil-

ity for the attack. A state-

ment on the IS-affiliated

Aamaq news agency

claimed 18 were killed

in the ambush, including

two officers.

IS has carried out

many similar attacks tar-

geting Iraqi forces in the

past months to detract

from the ongoing battle

between Iraqi forces and

Islamic State militants in

Mosul.

Rutba lies about 390

kilometers west of Bagh-

dad in the country’s vast

Anbar province. It’s the

last sizable town on the

way to the border with

Jordan.

— AP

EGYPT’S TRAFFIC GEMS

Believe it or not, there’s an Instagram account showing incredible pictures of pickup trucks in Egypt, transporting all sorts of items around the

country. A new page called “Noss Na2l” posts Instagram pictures of pickup trucks all over Cairo and elsewhere, captioned with hilarious on-

point remarks. Vegetables, animals, trash, along with many other items are loaded on the trucks, which tend to reflect a daily scene spotted

by everyday drivers in Egypt.

Here are some the pics:

We left because of

darkness, hunger, and

death. There are bullets

and air strikes. We were

injured, our children

were injured.

Younnes Ahmed

Fleeing Al-Thaura

MOSUL, Iraq —

Heavy two-

way traffic of carts carrying chil-

dren, clothes, and the elderly

crowded the main Baghdad-Mo-

sul road on Sunday as hundreds

of Iraqis fled heavy fighting or

made their way back to areas

seized back from Daesh.

Families paid no heed to the

sound of heavy mortar, artillery

and machine gun fire raging in

the background as US-trained

Iraqi forces battled Daesh some

two km.(about a mile) away.

Some had walked miles to a

government checkpoint where

the men were placed in army

trucks and sent for security

screening to ensure no militant

sleeper cells get out of the city.

Women and children were put on

buses and sent to camps housing

hundreds of thousands, some dis-

placed since the offensive to re-

take the Daesh stronghold began

in October.

“We left because of darkness,

hunger, and death. There are bul-

lets and air strikes. We were in-

jured, our children were injured,”

said Younnes Ahmed, who was

fleeing Al-Thaura district with

his family, their clothes all piled

on a cart. There was a deep bullet

wound on his hand.

A group of young men fur-

ther inside the city sat on the

street as soldiers gave them back

identification cards they had tak-

en to conduct background checks

before letting them go.

Most houses were reduced

to rubble, either because of air

strikes or Daesh bombs. Cars

were hollowed out.

“Daesh blew up my house

with TNT to shield against air

strikes,” said Hossam Saleh who

Iranian news agencies have

said Zaghari-Ratcliffe was con-

victed of plotting the “soft top-

pling” of Iran’s government.

AP

Pan-Am Flight 103 — have al-

ready attempted to appeal against

the conviction of Megrahi.

The families had argued they

should have the right to carry

forward the miscarriage of jus-

tice appeal for Megrahi.

However, three judges at the

appeal court in Edinburgh ruled

in July 2015 that this would not be

possible under Scots law.

The families’ action was not

supported by the Victims Of Pan

AM Flight 103 group in the Unit-

ed States, which said there was

“nothing new” in the appeal.

Agencies