- - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GAZA STRIP

Hamas besieges suspects in Italian’s slaying

JERUSALEM | Hamas police on Tuesday besieged a house in Gaza where al-Qaeda-inspired militants implicated in the slaying of an Italian activist were holed up and traded gunfire with the suspects after they refused to surrender, an official said.

The siege was part of Hamas‘ manhunt for the killers of Vittorio Arrigoni, who had been in Gaza since 2008 helping local Palestinians. The 36-year-old’s body was found Friday, a day after he was kidnapped and after a video showing him beaten and blindfolded surfaced online.


Hamas forces surrounded the house in Gaza Tuesday afternoon, calling on the men inside to surrender, but their calls were answered with gunfire, which prompted police to shoot back, a police official said.

EGYPT

Mission: 846 killed in anti-government protests

CAIRO | At least 846 Egyptians died in the nearly three-week-long popular uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak and electrified the region, a government fact-finding mission announced Tuesday.

In a report, the panel of judges described police forces shooting protesters in the head and chest with live ammunition and presented a death toll more than twice that of previous official estimates.

Earlier official estimates had put the toll from the days of demonstrations, in which protesters battled heavily armed legions of riot police, at 365.

SYRIA

Emergency laws lifted, but protesters warned

BEIRUT | Syria’s government approved lifting the country’s nearly 50-year-old state of emergency Tuesday to meet a key demand of anti-government protesters, but opposition leaders dismissed it as an attempt by President Bashar Assad to claim reforms but maintain his hard-line rule.

The blunt response suggested the month-old uprising could be entering a more volatile stage, with protesters aiming higher to seek Mr. Assad’s ouster and his regime warning that the demonstrations must now end.

The announcement signaling the end of the much-reviled emergency rule came just hours after a show of strength by authorities. Security forces opened fire on an occupied square in Syria’s third-largest city. Then officials issued a stern warning on national TV for the protesters to back down.

Story Continues →