Veteran Algerian jihadist's wife arrested in Libya - officials | Reuters
By Ayman al-Warfalli | BENGHAZI, Libya BENGHAZI, Libya Authorities in eastern Libya say they have arrested a woman believed to be the wife of veteran Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar after she travelled from southern Libya to the city of Derna to give birth.East Libya's counter-terrorism department said the woman, named as Tunisian Asma Kadoussi, had told investigators that Belmokhtar was alive and living in southern Libya.A spokesman for the department, Sami al-Matrih, told Reuters on Monday that Kadoussi had given birth to a girl 40 days ago.Belmokhtar, leader of the al-Mourabitoun group, has long been a major militant figure in the Sahel with deep connections across the region. He has repeatedly been pronounced dead by authorities before resurfacing to plot attacks or kidnappings, including a raid on an Algerian gas plant that killed 40 workers in 2013.
By Ayman al-Warfalli
| BENGHAZI, Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya Authorities in eastern Libya say they have arrested a woman believed to be the wife of veteran Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar after she travelled from southern Libya to the city of Derna to give birth.East Libya's counter-terrorism department said the woman, named as Tunisian Asma Kadoussi, had told investigators that Belmokhtar was alive and living in southern Libya.A spokesman for the department, Sami al-Matrih, told Reuters on Monday that Kadoussi had given birth to a girl 40 days ago.Belmokhtar, leader of the al-Mourabitoun group, has long been a major militant figure in the Sahel with deep connections across the region. He has repeatedly been pronounced dead by authorities before resurfacing to plot attacks or kidnappings, including a raid on an Algerian gas plant that killed 40 workers in 2013. In June 2015, Belmokhtar was targeted by a U.S. air strike in the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya, but his group declared shortly afterwards that he had survived. The east Libyan counter-terrorism office said in a statement that Kadoussi had been travelling with a second Tunisian woman, Afaf Haji, and that the two had stayed with an al Qaeda militant in Derna named as Jibril al-Abd.
They were detained on a road south of Derna after hospital staff in the city tipped off authorities because a foreign woman had checked in to give birth without her husband, the statement said.According to initial investigations the two women had earlier been staying in "terrorist camps" in the central Libyan desert region of Jufra with Belmokhtar, and the statement said that "it was him who sent them to Derna for the birth".Authorities posted photos of Tunisian identity cards and forged Libyan passports that they said the women were carrying.
Derna has historically been a stronghold for Libyan Islamists, and Islamic State took control of the city in 2014 before being ousted by rival Islamists and other opponents. The city, about 250 km (155 miles) east of Benghazi, is now the scene of fighting between security forces loyal to Libya's eastern government and an Islamist-led alliance.Militants loyal to both al Qaeda and Islamic State have a presence in the vast expanses of Libya's southern desert, an increasingly lawless space due to the conflict that developed after Libya's 2011 revolution.
Now in his 40s, Belmokhtar fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s before joining the Islamic Armed Group (GIA) during the Islamist insurgency in Algeria in the 1990s. He then helped found the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), which later transformed into al Qaeda's North African wing.As well as the 2013 gas plant attack in In Amenas, which authorities said was planned from Libya, Belmokhtar has been blamed for kidnapping foreigners and running lucrative smuggling rings in the Sahara. (Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
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By Lin Noueihed | CAIRO CAIRO A cartoon which appeared on social media shows a drowning Egyptian, only his hand protruding from the depths, waving for help. The next strips show President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi diving in, taking the drowning man's watch and turning away.The cartoon captures the mood of desperation and anger among Egyptians clobbered by tax rises, soaring food price inflation and cuts in state subsidies. Some fear a repeat of the mass street protests that drove Sisi's two immediate predecessors from power.Core inflation is at seven-year-highs, near 14 percent, as a foreign exchange shortage and a hike in customs duties bite hard in a country that imports everything from sugar to luxury cars.The government raised electricity prices by 25-40 percent in August and is phasing in a 13 percent value-added tax approved by parliament in the same month.As part of reforms aimed at clinching a $12 billion (9.81 billion pounds) IMF loan needed to plug its gaping budget deficit, the government is also expected to cut petrol subsidies and devalue the Egyptian pound, prompting a further cycle of inflation in Egypt, where tens of millions rely on state-subsidized bread."Prices are rising daily, not monthly," said Gamal Darwish, a civil servant, as he queued to buy subsidized sugar in Cairo."This situation will push people to do bad things
THE HAGUE Islamic State is likely to launch more attacks in Europe, the EU police agency Europol warned on Friday, with several dozen militants already in place and more possibly arriving as IS faces setbacks in Syria and Iraq.In a report on the threat the Islamist group poses to the 28-nation bloc, Europol said the most probable forms of attack would be those used in recent years, from the mass shootings and suicide bombings seen in Paris and Brussels to stabbings and other assaults by radicals acting alone.Car bombs and kidnappings, common in Syria, could emerge as tactics in Europe, it said, while protected sites such as power grids and nuclear power stations were not seen as top targets.Essentially the entire European Union is under threat as almost all its governments back the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, the agency said, warning that IS was likely to infiltrate Syrian refugee communities in Europe in an effort to inflame hostility to immigrants that has shaken many EU governments. "If IS is defeated or severely weakened in Syria/Iraq by the coalition forces, there may be an increased rate in the return of foreign fighters and their families from the region to the EU or to other conflict areas," Europol said in a statement.It said Islamic State was also likely to start planning attacks and sending militants to Europe from Libya and that other groups, including al Qaeda and its affiliates, also continue to pose a threat to the continent. Europol Director Rob Wainwright said EU states had stepped up their security cooperation in the wake of IS attacks in the last couple of years, allowing more plots to be thwarted.
By Belinda Goldsmith LISBON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Almost a third fewer women than men in the world's poorest countries are connected to the internet and the gap is set to widen, limiting access to life-changing opportunities, an anti-poverty group said on Tuesday.A study by the ONE organisation, co-founded by Irish rock star Bono to tackle extreme poverty, found 18 percent of men in the 48 least developed nations are online versus 12.5 percent of women, with a gender gap of 22.3 million or about 30 percent.The analysis, released at Europe's biggest tech event, the Web Summit, forecast the digital gender divide would widen further by 2020 to about 32 percent when factoring in population growth and current internet trends, to a gap of 53.5 million.The report said a global target set by U.N. member states last year to have universal affordable internet access in the least developed countries by 2020 was off track.Anti-poverty campaigners and tech leaders such as Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg have actively promoted the internet to help lift people out of poverty by connecting them to education and business opportunities as well as health services and banking.David McNair, policy director at ONE, said the new analysis showed that almost 350 million women and girls would remain unconnected by 2020 compared to about 290 million men due to a range of access, cultural and literacy factors. "But the fact is that when you empower women and girls to more education and job opportunities then this also benefits their families, communities and countries," McNair told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in Lisbon.WOMEN INVEST IN FAMILIES Studies repeatedly show that women plough 90 percent of their income back into their families compared to men, who invest about 35 percent in their families.