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Deadly Ambush Kills Egyptian Police In Sinai, Mubarak May Be Freed

BBC, Al Jazeera


CAIRO - At least 24 Egyptian police officers were killed Monday morning in an ambush attack in the Sinai peninsula, as the open conflict between state authorities and Islamists opponents deepens further following the deadliest week in recent memory.

According to Al Jazeera, two police minibuses were driving through a village near the town of Rafah on the Gaza border when unknown fighters ambushed them and fired rocket-propelled grenades at the vehicles. At least two other officers were injured.

There were conflicting reports about the attack. According to security forces quoted by the Associated Press, four armed men stopped the vehicles before forcing the police officers to get out and shooting them.

The Sinai peninsula has been witnessing near daily attacks since President Mohamed Morsi's destitution in a military coup on July 3. But Monday's attack was the deadliest in the region in six years, topping an August 2012 attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, Al Jazeera said.

The attack occured as Egyptian cities remained on edge after more than 830 people have been killed since Wednesday, including 70 members of the security forces.

The past 72 hours have included more deadly clashes, as the political stakes continue to climb, both at home and abroad.

- The lawyer for former President Hosni Mubarak said his client would be freed this week after a prosecutor cleared him of charges.

- On Monday morning, EU ambassadors met in Brussels to discuss the situation in Egypt amidst international alarm at the growing death toll from unrest across the country. The meeting follows Sunday’s warning that the EU would "urgently" review its relations with Egypt over the coming days.

- On Sunday, 36 detained protesters were killed in still unclear circumstances in a transfer between Cairo and a prison on the outskirts of the capital. The police say the incident happened while the prisoners tried to escape, while the Muslim Brotherhood says they were killed in cold blood. There are reports that the prisoners died from suffocation after tear gas was fired.

- On Sunday, Morsi supporters cancelled several protest demonstrations, citing “security reasons”, according to Yasmine Adel, an Anti-Coup Alliance spokesperson.

- General al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian army, spoke publicly on Sunday for the first time since the beginning of the bloodshed last week. In front of hundreds of security forces, he promised to be uncompromising with any violence from the Muslim Brotherhood, but said there was space for Islamists in Egypt's future. The army has said it is considering an outright ban on the Muslim Brotherhood.

- The government announced it would dissolve militias in anti-Islamist neighborhoods in Cairo. These armed groups attacked those who they think are Islamist – bearded men or entirely veiled women – and foreign journalists, whom they accused of supporting deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

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Geert Wilders, The Europe Union's Biggest Problem Since Brexit

The victory of Geert Wilders' far-right party in this week's elections in the Netherlands shows that politics in Europe, at both the national and European Union level, has fundamentally failed to overcome its contradictions.

Geert Wilders, The Europe Union's Biggest Problem Since Brexit

A campaign poster of Geert Wilders, who leads the Party for Freedom (PVV) taken in the Hague, Netherlands

Pierre Haski

Updated Nov. 28, 2023 at 6:15 p.m.


PARIS — For a long time, Geert Wilders, recognizable by his peroxide hair, was an eccentric, disconcerting and yet mostly marginal figure in Dutch politics. He was known for his public outbursts against Muslims, particularly Moroccans who are prevalent in the Netherlands, which once led to a court convicting him for the collective insulting of a nationality.

Consistently ranking third or fourth in poll results, this time he emerged as the leader in Wednesday's national elections. The shock is commensurate with his success: 37 seats out of 150, twice as many as in the previous legislature.

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The recipe is the same everywhere: a robustly anti-immigration agenda that capitalizes on fears. Wilders' victory in the Netherlands reflects a prevailing trend across the continent, from Sweden to Portugal, Italy and France.

We must first see if Wilders manages to put together the coalition needed to govern. Already the first roadblock came this week with the loss of one of his top allies scouting for coalition partners from other parties: Gom van Strien, a senator in Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) was forced to resign from his role after accusations of fraud resurfaced in Dutch media.

Nonetheless, at least three lessons can be drawn from Wilders' far-right breakthrough in one of the founding countries of the European Union.

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