Middle East Update

Middle East – North Africa News Brief

MENA Regional Low Intensity Conflicts, April 3 – April 8

[SYRIA]: Spanish authorities raided Rifaat al-Assad’s assets in a corruption inquiry on April 3rd. Rifaat al-Assad is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s uncle, and former general of the Syrian Arab Army. According to Spanish authorities, the total value of the properties and assets seized is $735 million US Dollars.

[BAHRAIN]: Continuing Shiite opposition group protests throughout the Kingdom in the past week.

Bahrain’s Court of Cassation overturned the Court of Appeals December 2016 verdict to extend Sheikh Ali Salman’s prison sentence from 4 years to 9 years. Sheikh Salman will be completing his prison sentence in December 2017.

[SAUDI ARABIA]: Reports of Saudi National Guard forces having been redeployed from certain residential and commercial security zones to exposed areas in the the Eastern Province. These reports remain unconfirmed, but are deemed believable due to the overall perception of the security situation in the area that the troops are being redeployed to.

[EGYPT]: A meeting between US President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on April 3rd was successful, this according to statements made by both parties. President Trump expressed an intent for continuing security cooperation, and renewed efforts to support Egyptian efforts to combat militant extremism in the country.

Subscribers of the el-Watan SMS news service received text messages on April 4th detailing a coming military coup. The described military coup would have included high ranking army officials with ties to the former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. El-Watan has released a statement explaining that their service had experienced a security breach, and that the military coup information is incorrect.

A male was shot and killed in a clash with Egyptian police forces on April 6th, in the 6th of October City, Giza, area. The man was previously wanted for illegal possession of firearms.

[TURKEY]: 17 individuals were arrested by police forces in the port city of Mersin on April 5th. The individuals arrested are alleged to have ties with the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist–Leninist (TKP/ML), and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C).

4 people with alleged affiliations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were arrested around 04:00 in Kucukcekmece, Istanbul, on April 4th. Police report that the individuals are suspected of building explosive devices to be used against Turkish authorities.

[PALESTINE and ISRAEL]: Russia announced on April 6th that the Russian government is publicly recognizing West Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

Hamas, the ruling party of Gaza, executed 3 Palestinian individuals on April 6th. The men were accused of having spied, and carried out treason, on behalf of Israeli Security Services.

An Israeli soldier was killed, and another injured, when a Palestinian civilian individual crashed a car into a bus stop, by the Ofra junction, on the Route 60 highway north-east of Ramallah, where the two soldiers were standing. The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, praised what it called the “heroic” attack. 

[TUNISIA]: Tunisian authorities have shut down a nightclub in the north-east town of Nabeul. The closure happened after the European DJ, called Dax J, hired to play at the club played a remixed techno-dance version of the Islamic call to prayer. The club manager is currently being detained by police.

Algeria and Tunisia both denied rumors expressed by Iranian press agencies, on April 3rd, that the leadership of both North African countries praised Iran’s geopolitical role in the region during a diplomatic tour by Iran’s Minister of Culture, Reza Amiri.

[YEMEN]: US military continues to intensify its attacks against al Qaeda positions in Yemen. According to US Military Central Command, CENTCOM, the US carried out over 25 airstrikes in the past 7 days.


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