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Egypt's Sisi tells army to restore Sinai security in 3 months
by Staff Writers
Cairo (AFP) Nov 29, 2017

Jordanian jailed over IS plot to attack coalition air base
Amman (AFP) Nov 29, 2017 - An Amman court jailed a Jordanian man for 10 years Wednesday for plotting attacks on behalf of the Islamic State group against an air base used by the coalition fighting the jihadists.

The state security court found the 52-year-old guilty of "conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts", an AFP correspondent at the courthouse said.

The man -- whose name was not released by officials -- was arrested in November 2016 as he plotted to attack the sprawling Muwaffaq Salti air base in the country's eastern desert, the staging point for aerial sorties by the US-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, the court said.

It said the man had been in contact with IS operatives in Raqa, the group's former Syria stronghold, who asked him to "carry out military operations targeting officers and members of the Jordanian military intelligence services".

He had also been told to monitor the base and had passed intelligence to IS on its layout and how it was guarded.

Since IS took over swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, Jordan, a key US ally, has used its own air force and allowed US-led coalition forces to use its bases.

A string of defeats at the hands of coalition-backed campaigns in Syria and Iraq as well as a Russian-backed assault by Syrian government forces have brought the jihadist group's "caliphate" to the edge of collapse.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi publicly ordered on Wednesday his military chief of staff to restore security in Sinai within three months after militants killed more than 300 worshippers, demanding "complete brutal force."

Sisi made his remarks in a televised speech to mark the birthday of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as the country reels from the Friday massacre in a North Sinai mosque.

The Islamic State (IS) group's Egypt affiliate based in the North Sinai is believed to have carried out the attack on the mosque associated with a mystical Sufi order.

"Allow me to take this opportunity to commit General Mohamed Farid Hegazy, in front of you and all the Egyptian people: you are responsible for restoring security and stability in Sinai within three months, you and the interior ministry," Sisi told the chief of staff in the audience.

"In three months, with God's grace, and with your help and sacrifices and those of the police, Egypt will restore stability and security in Sinai," Sisi said.

"Complete brutal force will be used. Complete brutal force."

Sisi had replaced his previous military chief of staff in October after militants ambushed policemen in the country's Western Desert, killing at least 16.

Friday's massacre took place in a western region of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip, that had seen relatively few attacks.

A Sufi sheikh associated with the mosque told AFP that IS, which views Sufis as heretics, had sent fighters to the mosque less than a month before the massacre to warn against holding Sufi rituals.

Syria regime agrees to East Ghouta ceasefire: UN envoy
Geneva (AFP) Nov 28, 2017
Syria's government agreed on Tuesday to a ceasefire in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, following days of heavy bombardment, the United Nations envoy to the war-ravaged country said. "I was just informed by the Russians... today at the P5 meeting that Russia has proposed and the government has accepted a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta," Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva. He was speaking ... read more

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