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Libya’s Benghazi sees battles for control

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Fighting continues between rival militias as Egypt rejects reports of involvement in attacks on Islamist positions.

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Forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a former Libyan general, have relaunched a bid to reclaim Libya’s second city Benghazi from Islamist fighters, amid reports of assistance from Egypt and support from Libya’s recognised government.

Sources told Al Jazeera that gunfire and explosions were heard early on Wednesday and that aircraft belonging to Haftar’s forces were striking targets around the eastern city.

Witnesses said tanks and jets had targeted the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, a rival to Haftar’s forces which operates in parts of Benghazi.

The group is part of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, a military coalition allied with the al-Qaeda-linked armed group Ansar al-Sharia and control most of the city.

Egypt accused

The fighting came amid unconfirmed reports that Egypt had put its weight behind Haftar’s troops in its bid to “liberate” Benghazi.

This clearly shows a direct and blatant interference by the governments of Egypt and the UAE. We hope that the brothers in the UAE and Egypt learn from the previous mistakes and stop meddling in our affairs.

Abdul Rahman Sweihli, Libyan politician

The Associated Press news agency quoted two Egyptian government officials as saying that Egyptian fighter jets were bombing positions of Islamist militias in Benghazi.

The officials, who have firsthand knowledge of the operation, said the use of the aircraft was part of an Egyptian-led operation against the fighters that would at a later stage involve Libyan ground troops recently trained by Egyptian forces, AP said.

Libyan politician Abdul Rahman Sweihli backed the accusations against Egypt, saying that the Libyan air force was not capable of the attacks that Benghazi was witnessing.

“We know very well the limited power of the Libyan air force and we know it is quite impossible for the Libyan air force to shell the city of Benghazi and another areas on a daily basis,” Sweihli told Al Jazeera from Tripoli.

“This is way above what they are capable of. This clearly shows a direct and blatant interference by the governments of Egypt and the UAE.

“We hope that the brothers in the UAE and Egypt learn from the previous mistakes and stop meddling in our affairs. We want good relations with everyone and chose dialogue and peace among the Libyans instead of taking sides,”
Sweihli added.

However, the Egyptian state media later quoted Alaa Youssef, the presidential spokesman, as rejecting the reports of the country’s involvement in the Libyan bombing.

On August 26, US officials said the UAE conducted air strikes against Islamist militias using airbases in Egypt, reports that Egypt later denied.

Army’s backing pledged

In another development, forces controlled by Libya’s internationally recognised government, the House of Representatives, said on Wednesday they were supporting Haftar’s operations in Benghazi.

“The Libyan army claims Operation Dignity as one of its own campaigns,” Colonel Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesman of the national army, said, AP said, adding that “now it is one operation of the army, among others”.

The North African nation has been gripped by turmoil since the 2011 uprising against long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi. It has sunk deeper into instability with two rival parliaments and governments.

A parliament, elected in June, is recognised by the international community but contested by the militia controlling most of Tripoli, where an alliance of armed groups hold sway, and by other armed groups who dominate Benghazi.

Abdullah al-Thinni, Libya’s prime minister, and his elected parliament have moved to the far eastern city of Tobruk after the capital Tripoli was seized by the rival militia members, who set up their own administration and cabinet.

Dozens of people, including soldiers, have been killed in violence in Benghazi in the past several days, the AFP news agency reported, citing military and hospital souces

 

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Pray for Pope Francis Has He Undergoes Surgery : President Buhari

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Roman Catholic church head, Pope Francis has undergone surgery hours after attending the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, July 4.

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a get-well message to the Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, as he heads in for a scheduled surgery of the colon.

The president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

Buhari called for prayers from Nigerians and the global community as the Pontiff goes in for this routine operation.

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Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey reveals special #EndSARS emoji after endorsing the movement

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Twitter CEO,  Jack Dorsey has revealed special #EndSARS Emoji after endorsing the movement against police brutality and other unlawful crimes in Nigeria.

Jack tweeted his support for the #EndSARS protests and called for Bitcoin donations towards the movement two days ago.

Last night, Twitter experienced issues globally with large numbers of users unable to post tweets, access their timelines, or see notifications. After fixing these issues, Jack Dorsey revealed a special #EndSARS emoji, a fist with the colour of the Nigerian flag.

Nigerians have flooded his comment session to thank him for his support and the special #EndSARS emoji he created for the movement.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey reveals special #EndSARS emoji after endorsing the movementTwitter CEO, Jack Dorsey reveals special #EndSARS emoji after endorsing the movementTwitter CEO, Jack Dorsey reveals special #EndSARS emoji after endorsing the movementTwitter CEO, Jack Dorsey reveals special #EndSARS emoji after endorsing the movement

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Brazilian footballer Neymar faces fresh police questioning over claim he raped a model in Paris hotel room

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Brazilian footballer, Neymar, 26, will be questioned for the second time over claims he raped a model in a Paris Hotel room.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has reportedly agreed to fly into São Paulo in Brazil to meet with detectives over the alleged rape attack on 26-year-old model, Najila Trindade Mendes de Souza. 

Speaking to MailOnline, Dr. Juliana Lopes Bussacos, the officer in charge of the investigation, said: ‘He will be treated like any other citizen. He has the same rights as any other man.

‘I have interviewed many men in these situations and everyone is equal and they all have the right to tell their story and produce evidence to back it up.’

With detectives desperate to get to the bottom of what happened,  Dr. Juliana said she couldn’t enter into details of the rape accuser’s complaint due to confidentiality.

‘There are so many questions and answers that need clarification. He says he did not rape her and she has said she has evidence.

The former Barcelona striker is expected to give his statement in the next 48 hours, and then officers will decide if there is a case and if it is necessary to bring them together.

This comes after it was revealed that Neymar could be cleared of the rape accusation levied against him within days over lack of more evidence from his accuser.

The Brazilian model has been informed by her lawyer that she faces seeing her case against the Paris Saint-Germain star dropped except there is more evidence. She also faces losing the second lawyer to represent her after he said he could not carry on if his professional ‘trust’ in her was compromised.

Trindade’s attorney Danileo Garcia de Andrade said he still believed Ms. Trindade had a case, but he would step aside if there was a lack of evidence.

Mr. Daileo said he had given her a deadline to produce the video and photographs she claimed to have had which would help prove her allegations of rape against the Brazilian superstar. But if the evidence was not forthcoming, he said, he would drop the case next week.

Mr de Andrade told Brazil’s UOL Esporte: ‘If the police investigation of the supposed break-in where she lives shows there was no break-in, I am leaving the case.’

He added: ‘The attorney-client relationship is based always on trust. If there is no trust, then there is no reason to stay on’

Trindade claimed she was the victim of ‘aggression and rape’ by the Paris Saint-Germain player in a hotel room in the French capital on May 15. She said the encounter started out consensual but quickly turned violent, leaving her with bruises and scrapes to her legs and buttocks, with Neymar refusing to stop.

She told police her tablet containing a seven-minute video, messages and photos she alleged incriminated the footballer, was stolen in a burglary at her apartment. But the authorities said they found no major signs of a break-in and only Ms. Trindade’s fingerprints and those of her maid and friends around the flat.

Neymar has strongly denied raping her but admitted that what happened between them was consensual.

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