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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which lead a boycott against Qatar, have described Doha’s rejection of their demands as a threat to regional security.

In a statement, the Saudi-led bloc also warned of unspecified new measures.

Last month they cut all ties with Qatar, in effect imposing a land blockade on the tiny emirate.

Qatar Crisis to Be Discussed in Cairo

They demanded that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera TV, reduce ties with Iran and end its alleged support for jihadists.

Image source Flickr

Earlier this week Qatar rejected the four Gulf states’ ultimatum. It denies the allegations against it.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected on July 10 to visit Kuwait, which is mediating the Gulf crisis.

Qatar Rejects List of Conditions for Lifting Sanctions

In a July 6 statement, the bloc said Qatar’s rejection of their 13 demands “reflects its intention to continue its policy, aimed at destabilizing security in the region”.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also threatened new political and economic measures against Qatar, without providing any further details.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has described the cutting of ties with his country as “a siege that is a clear aggression and an insult”.

He said earlier this week: “The answer to our disagreement is not blockades and ultimatums, it is dialogue and reason.”

Qatar is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million.

As Qatar’s only land border is now closed, food is having to be shipped or flown in.

Qatar has rejected a list of 13 conditions set by four Arab states for lifting sanctions with its foreign minister saying it is neither reasonable nor actionable.

The Arab country is under strict sanctions from Saudi Arabia and its allies, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain. They accuse Qatar of backing terrorism.

Among other things, the four countries have demanded the closure of Al Jazeera TV, which is funded by the Qatari government.

Al Jazeera accused them of trying to “silence freedom of expression”.

Qatar has been under unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions for more than two weeks, with Iran and Turkey increasingly supplying it with food and other goods.

It denies accusations that it is funding terrorism and fostering regional instability.

The four countries also want Qatar to reduce its ties with Iran and close a Turkish military base, setting a deadline on June 23 of 10 days.

The government is reviewing the demands, a spokesman has said.

Image source Flickr

On June 21, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had asked the four countries to make their demands “reasonable and actionable“.

However, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, quoted by Al-Jazeera, said: “The US secretary of state recently called upon the blockading nations to produce a list of grievances that was <<reasonable and actionable>>.

“The British foreign secretary asked that the demands be <<measured and realistic>>. This list does not satisfy that [sic] criteria.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the demands were proof that the sanctions had “nothing to do with combating terrorism… [but] limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy”.

In a statement, Al Jazeera said: “We assert our right to practice our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority.”

Qatar’s main import routes – by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from container ships docked in the UAE – have been disrupted and much of the surrounding airspace has been closed to its air traffic.

However, Qatar has so far avoided economic collapse by finding alternative routes.

Qatari citizens living in neighboring countries or with family living there have been hit harder, Reuters notes, because of ultimatums issued for them to leave.

Correspondents say there has been frustration in Washington over the time taken by the Saudis and others to formalize their demands.

President Donald Trump has taken a hard line towards Qatar, accusing it of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism.

However, the Arab states involved in the crisis are all close allies of the US while the largest American base in the Middle East is in Qatar.


Al Jazeera is cutting 500 jobs worldwide, the Qatar-based media network has announced.

The job reduction would affect posts worldwide but most of the losses would be in Qatar.

Acting director general Mostefa Souag said the decision was “difficult” but the group was “confident it is the right step”.

Al Jazeera, funded by the Qatari government, was founded in 1996 and has more than 70 bureaus worldwide.

The network described the latest move as “a workforce optimization initiative” in response to “the ongoing transformation of the media landscape”.

Mostefa Souag said: “While our decision is consistent with those being made across the media industry worldwide, it was difficult to make nonetheless.

“However, we are confident it is the right step to ensure the Network’s long-term competitiveness and reach.”

Earlier this year, Al Jazeera America announced it would shut its cable news channel despite spending heavily to break into the US marketAl Jazeera job cut 2016

CEO Al Anstey said the business model was “simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges”.

Al Jazeera spent millions of dollars hiring top US journalists but struggled to bring viewers to its news programs.

Al-Jazeera reporter Ahmed Mansour has been freed in Germany after being detained following an extradition request from Egypt, German prosecutors confirmed.

Ahmed Mansour, who works for the network’s Arabic-language service, was held on June 20 as he tried to board a flight from Berlin to Qatar.

A court in Egypt’s capital Cairo sentenced Ahmed Mansour to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on torture charges.

Al-Jazeera says the accusations against Ahmed Mansour are absurd and false.

“This was an unfortunate incident in Germany, but we are pleased that the mistake has been rectified,” said al-Jazeera’s acting director general, Mostefa Souag.Ahmed Mansour freed in Berlin

“We hope that this will be a lesson to the Egyptian authorities that the rest of the world values freedom of the press,” he added.

Ahmed Mansour’s lawyer, Patrick Teubner, told Associated Press that there were no further legal matters pending against his client in Germany.

Ahmed Mansour was released into a cheering crowd on June 22.

“Thanks to people around the world who supported me in the last days,” he said, according to AFP.

Earlier, the German government had said that it could veto an extradition decision from the court.

Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a news conference that Germany has repeatedly questioned the rule of law in Egypt.

“Against this background, you will surely understand that there are doubts in the Mansour case,” he said.

“I don’t think one can say this loudly enough: Of course, nobody will be extradited from Germany who risks being sentenced to death abroad.”

Ahmed Mansour, along with two Muslim Brotherhood members and an Islamic preacher, is accused of taking part in the torture of a lawyer in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, during protests against then President Hosni Mubarak.

Video footage of the incident shows the lawyer being kicked but does not show Ahmed Mansour, according to AP. The journalist later interviewed the preacher about the incident, the news agency says.

Al-Jazeera senior journalist Ahmed Mansour has been arrested in Germany at the request of Egypt.

Ahmed Mansour, who works for the channel’s Arabic-language service, was detained as he tried to board a flight from Berlin to Qatar.

Egyptian authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for Ahmed Mansour, a German police official said.

A Cairo court sentenced Ahmed Mansour, 52, to 15 years in prison in absentia in 2014 on torture charges.

Al-Jazeera says the claims made against Ahmed Mansour, who has dual British and Egyptian citizenship, are absurd and false.Al Jazeera Ahmed Mansour detained in Berlin

Ahmed Mansour tweeted on Saturday night: “I am still under arrest at Berlin airport, waiting to be taken before an investigating judge.”

Al-Jazeera reporter that Ahmed Mansour is expected to remain in custody until June 22 when he will go in front of a German judge.

A police spokesman said the arrest was made at 15:20 local time.

He added that the Egyptian-issued arrest warrant accused Ahmed Mansour of committing “several crimes” but he gave no further details.

Al-Jazeera said the Egyptian warrant was previously rejected by international police body Interpol as it did not meet its rules.

In a video recorded while detained, Ahmed Mansour described the incident as a “misunderstanding” and said he hoped it would be resolved quickly.

“It is quite ludicrous that a country like Germany would enforce and support such a request made by a dictatorial regime like the one we have in Egypt,” he added.

“Other countries must not allow themselves to be tools of this media oppression, least of all those that respect freedom of the media as does Germany,” said al-Jazeera acting director General Mostefa Souag.

Relations between Doha and Cairo have been strained by Qatar’s support for the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt.

Three al-Jazeera journalists, including Australian Peter Greste, were arrested in Egypt in 2013 on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi visited Germany earlier this month and met with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

French authorities have arrested three al-Jazeera journalists for the alleged illegal flying of a drone in Paris after being spotted by police in the Bois de Boulogne area.

A spokesman for prosecutors said there was “no relationship for the moment” between the arrests and mysterious drone flights over the city at night.

Drones flew over the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks five times for a second night running on February 24.Paris mystery drones

Flying drones over Paris without a license is banned by law.

The offense carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and a €75,000 ($85,000) fine.

A judicial source told AFP news agency of the three people arrested: “The first was piloting the drone, the second was filming and the third was watching.”

The names and nationalities of the journalists have not been released. Al-Jazeera is a Qatar-based satellite TV channel.

It is against the law for any aircraft to fly lower than 19,700ft over central Paris. Flying any aircraft under that ceiling – including drones, police helicopters and air ambulances – requires permission from city authorities.

Flying a drone at night is banned completely.

Al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste was freed from Egypt prison and deported on February 1.

After 400 days behind bars, Peter Greste landed safely in Cyprus, on his way to his native Australia.

Peter Greste will not rest until his colleagues are released from prison in Egypt, his family says.

He was arrested in 2013 and tried on charges that included spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

Two al-Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, remain jailed.

Mohamed Fahmy, who holds dual Egyptian and Canadian citizenship, may be freed after having his Egyptian nationality revoked, presidential sources said.

But there are still concerns about Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian who holds no dual nationality.

Peter Greste spoke about his concerns for his colleagues to his family after his release.

Speaking at a press conference in the Australian city of Brisbane, brother Andrew Greste said: “We want to acknowledge that Peter’s two other colleagues are still there.”Peter Greste jailed in Egypt

His father Juris Greste said that they felt very deeply for those left behind.

Andrew Greste also thanked all those who had supported his brother and worked for his release.

“We are small cogs in this massive campaign,” he said.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Peter Greste had told her in a telephone conversation that he was eager to return to his family in Brisbane.

“He was immensely relieved and he was desperate to come home to Australia and reunite with his family,” said Julie Bishop.

“From my discussion with him, he was very keen to be back on a beach and lying in the sun in Australia.”

The three journalists had been accused of collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi by the military in 2013.

All the defendants denied the charges against them and said their trial was a sham.

Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste were sentenced to seven years in prison and Baher Mohamed to 10. Their convictions were overturned on January 1, but the men remained in custody pending a retrial.

Peter Greste’s release on Sunday came after a long international campaign.

His family said that he would return to Australia when he felt ready.

His mother, Lois Greste, said she had been quietly dreaming about this moment.

The first hints of Peter Greste’s release came in November, when President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said he was considering granting pardons to the two foreign al-Jazeera journalists.

He had earlier signed a decree on repatriating foreign prisoners.

Peter Greste’s release was eventually confirmed by a statement issued by the Egyptian interior ministry.

According to campaign group Reporters Without Borders, there are currently 165 journalists imprisoned around the world, in countries including China, Iran, Eritrea, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Russia.

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Cairo’s Court of Cassation has set the appeals hearing of three jailed al-Jazeera journalists for January 1, 2015, says Mohamed Fahmy’s family.

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste were jailed for seven years on June 23, 2014.

They were accused of spreading false news and supporting the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

The court will either uphold the verdict or call for a retrial.

It is thought the Court of Cassation will take one or two sessions to deliver its ruling.

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt

Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years in jail in Egypt

If the court rejects the sentences, the case will return to the criminal court for a retrial.

Should it uphold the verdict, the only other alternative is for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to offer a pardon.

Egyptian-Canadian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were arrested on December 29, 2013.

At the sentencing in June 2014, Mohamed Fahmy received a further three years on charges of possessing “unlicensed ammunition”.

Eleven other defendants, including three foreign journalists, tried in absentia at the same time received 10-year sentences.

The sentencing of the three sparked an international outcry and raised concerns over growing media restrictions in Egypt.

Journalists around the world held silent protests against their imprisonment.

Qatar-base al-Jazeera was banned from operating inside Egypt after the authorities accused it of broadcasting reports sympathetic to former President Mohamed Morsi and the now banned Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has consistently denied the allegations.

However, Qatar has supported the Brotherhood and is unpopular with Egypt’s government.

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Twenty journalists, including four foreigners, are facing charges in Egypt, prosecutors have said.

The Egyptian journalists are accused of belonging to a “terrorist organization” and the four foreigners are accused of assisting it, or spreading false news.

The defendants include two Britons, a Dutch national and an Australian – believed to be al-Jazeera correspondent Peter Greste.

Earlier, international news networks called for the release of five al-Jazeera journalists.

The 16 Egyptian defendants face several allegations including belonging to a terrorist group, harming national unity and social peace, and using terrorism as a means to their goals.

The four foreigners are accused of collaborating with the Egyptians and providing them with information, equipment, and money as well as broadcasting false information and rumors to convince the international community that Egypt was undergoing a civil war.

Eight of the defendants are in detention, while 12 are on the run with arrest warrants issued against them, according to the prosecutor’s statement.

No names are mentioned. But it said the four foreigners were correspondents for the Qatari al-Jazeera news network.

Peter Greste's appeal against his detention without charge was denied on Wednesday by a Cairo court

Peter Greste’s appeal against his detention without charge was denied on Wednesday by a Cairo court

“We only know of five people in jail,” said al-Jazeera’s head of newsgathering Heather Allen.

“We don’t know about the full charge. Things are not clear at the moment. We are still waiting for clarity.”

Peter Greste’s appeal against his detention without charge was denied on Wednesday by a Cairo court.

The staff members and journalists of al-Jazeera were arrested in late December following interior ministry accusations of illegally broadcasting from a hotel suite.

Al-Jazeera has said the men were merely reporting the situation in Egypt.

Of the three arrested a month ago, Peter Greste is accused of collaborating with “terrorists” by talking to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned by the military-backed government.

Al-Jazeera Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, who is Egyptian-Canadian, and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed are accused of the more serious offence of membership of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The al-Jazeera network says it was “surprised” when its reporters were arrested by Egyptian authorities.

Two more of its staff – journalist Abdullah al-Shami and cameraman Mohammad Badr – were arrested in July and August.

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Three journalists working for the Al-Jazeera broadcaster in Cairo have been arrested by Egyptian police.

The Interior Ministry said the journalists had held illegal meetings with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization last week.

The military-backed interim government launched a crackdown on the movement following President Mohamed Morsi’s removal from power.

Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members, including its leadership, have been arrested and many put on trial.

The journalists, who work for Al-Jazeera English, are understood to have been detained late on Sunday night.

Three journalists working for the Al-Jazeera broadcaster in Cairo have been arrested by Egyptian police

Three journalists working for the Al-Jazeera broadcaster in Cairo have been arrested by Egyptian police

They are Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, who holds Canadian nationality, Peter Greste, an Australian, and an unnamed cameraman who is said to have been arrested at home.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement that cameras, recordings and other material had been seized from rooms at a hotel in Cairo.

It accused the journalists of broadcasting news that were “damaging to national security”.

Observers say Egypt’s media environment has been highly charged since Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow.

Several Islamist channels were closed down immediately after the military intervention in the summer. Journalists working for them were temporarily detained.

The latest arrests come after fresh deadly clashes between police and Muslim Brotherhood supporters across Egypt.

Three people were killed – in Cairo, southern Minya province and the Nile Delta – during the violence.

Security forces detained some 265 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, officials said.

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A leaked Pakistani government report reveals that incompetence and negligence allowed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan undetected for almost a decade.

A version of the report leaked to al-Jazeera says the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces was a “criminal act of murder” ordered by the US president.

The report also reveals details of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and day-to-day life after fleeing Afghanistan in 2001.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in north-west Pakistan in May 2011.

US suspicions about Osama bin Laden’s location had previously been dismissed by Pakistan. However, his discovery in a compound in Abbottabad and subsequent killing in a US Navy Seal operation put a strain on US-Pakistan relations.

Shortly after the raid, the Pakistan parliament called for an independent enquiry – the Abbottabad Commission – to establish whether the failures of the government were due to incompetence or colluding with al-Qaeda.

It was also commissioned to investigate the Pakistani intelligence services’ failure to detect CIA activity on its soil in the run-up to the raid “that culminated in the avoidable humiliation of the people of Pakistan”.

Incompetence and negligence allowed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan undetected for almost a decade

Incompetence and negligence allowed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan undetected for almost a decade

In its findings, the report described the lack of intelligence as “government implosion syndrome”.

The leaked documents fiercely criticized the Pakistani government and military, describing “culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government”.

While the commission said it found nothing to support allegations of complicity, it said it could not rule out “the possibility of some degree of connivance inside or outside the government”.

The report also voiced harsh criticism of the Navy Seal raid on Abbottabad, describing it as an “American act of war” and Pakistan’s “greatest humiliation” since East Pakistan seceded in 1971.

It quotes officials as saying that Pakistan air force jets were scrambled to shoot down the US helicopters, but too late.

The 336-page document was the result of interviews with more than 200 witnesses, including senior civilian and military officials, as well as with Osama bin Laden’s three widows prior to their deportation to Saudi Arabia.

The report has been in the hands of the government for more than six months, but it had been kept under wraps.

In the version leaked to al-Jazeera, the daily life of Osama bin Laden after fleeing the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 is documented.

He was reported to have arrived in Pakistan in the spring or summer of 2002, staying in parts of South Waziristan, Bajaur, Peshawar, Swat and Haripur before settling in Abbottabad in 2005.

The wife of one of Osama bin Laden’s aides, Maryam, was quoted saying police in Swat even stopped the al-Qaeda leader’s vehicle for speeding in 2002 or 2003 – but failed to recognize him.

Referring to Osama bin Laden and his entourage, the report said: “They kept a very low profile and lived extremely frugally. They never exposed themselves to public view.”

Testimony from his widows said Osama bin Laden wore a cowboy hat whilst moving around the compound to avoid detection.

However, over a period of six years the unusual nature of the compound failed to draw the attention of the intelligence services, the report goes on.

“How the entire neighborhood, local officials, police and security and intelligence officials all missed the size, the strange shape, the barbed wire, the lack of cars and visitors etc over a period of nearly six years beggars belief.”

Commenting on the leak, the head of the commission, Javed Iqbal, told Pakistani Dunya TV that it was “based on assumptions” and did not include even one out of more than 100 recommendations the commission had made in its findings.

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A disturbing video of the Toulouse shootings was sent to Al-Jazeera office in Paris, but the Arabic TV network has said it will not air the footage.

The video appeared to have been recorded during Mohamed Merah’s deadly attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school earlier this month.

The station’s decision not to broadcast the video, which was sent on a USB memory stick along with a letter, came after French president Nicolas Sarkozy and family of the victims had asked for it not to be shown.

The video has been edited into a “montage” accompanied by an Islamic war songs, and was sent in a package post-dated March 21 – the day before 23-year-old Mohamed Merah was killed by French special forces in his home city.

Investigators have already confirmed that Mohamed Merah had a small video camera strapped to his chest when he murdered a Rabbi and his two children, as well as a teenage pupil, at a Jewish school in Toulouse a week ago.

The week before, the self-confessed “Jihad warrior” also filmed his murders of three French soldiers who had fought in Afghanistan.

A video recorded during Mohamed Merah's deadly attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school earlier this month was sent to Al-Jazeera in Paris

A video recorded during Mohamed Merah's deadly attacks on soldiers and a Jewish school earlier this month was sent to Al-Jazeera in Paris

Both Al-Jazeera and Le Parisien newspaper confirmed that the video footage had been seen in Paris.

An unnamed source in Le Parisien, Paris’s daily newspaper, said: “Investigators are trying to find out whether the letter was posted Tuesday night by Mohamed Merah himself or by an accomplice on Wednesday morning.”

The existence of an accomplice would end theories that Mohamed Merah was a “lone wolf” assassin who acted out of his hatred for the “enemies” of Islam, and especially Jews.

On Sunday his brother, Abdelkader Merah, 29, appeared before an anti-terrorist judge in Paris and was formally charged with “complicity in murder”.

Abdelkader Merah was remanded in custody, and taken to a high-security prison in Paris, where he is likely to remain until his trial.

He has already told police interrogators that he was “very proud” of what Mohamed Merah did, and admitted to dinning with him just before the attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse.

“Signals from Abdelkader’s mobile phone were emitted close to the school at the time of the murders,” said an investigating source.

Among numerous questions Abedelkader Merah is facing is why traces of explosive were found in his car, and how much he knew about the arsenal of weapons his brother was storing.

It is also believed that Abdekkader Merah also helped his brother buy the Yamaha T-Max motorbike used in all the attacks, and to respray the vehicle and to try and remove its tracking device.

Paris security sources believe that both Merah brothers were involved in two local Islamist organizations, Forsane Alizza (The Knights of Pride) and a more militant jihadist network known as the Toulouse group, or Jund al-Khalifah.

Jund al-Khalifah, an Al-Qaeda splinter group, has already admitted to working with a “Youssef the Frenchman”- who is believed to be Mohamed Merah.

The French authorities are facing growing criticism that Mohamed Merah, a known fundamentalist who was on the U.S. no-fly list and had attended an al-Qaeda training camp, was left alone to carry out his crimes.