LATEST: Turkey — Court Says Gezi Park Re-Development Goes Ahead

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Attackers raided the Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons in Iraq on Sunday night with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Soldiers, police, and attack helicopters were dispatched to end the fighting and rioting by prisoners. The Ministry of Interior claimed the attacks were foiled, with security forces pursuing the assailants.

Rumors on the Internet said up to 80% of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib were freed, but the Ministry indicated that no detainees had escaped.

Video celebrating the attacks:

(Featured Photo: File image of Abu Ghraib Prison — AFP)

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Turkey: Court Says Gezi Park Re-Development Goes Ahead

An Istanbul administrative court has unanimously overturned a lower court’s suspension of the redevelopment of the city’s Gezi Park, the catalyst for nation-wide protests against the Erdogan Government last month.

The court accepted an appeal by the Government, allowin
The ministry appealed the verdict, prompting the Istanbul Sixth Administrative Court to lift the legal obstacles preventing Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality from demolishing Gezi Park until the State Council gave its final verdict on the matter.

The recent overturning allows construction to proceed even before the State Council issues a final decision on the park.

The police crackdown on a sit-in protest in nearby Taksim Square on 31 May sparked mass rallies in Istanbul and across Turkey, condemning the Government’s pursuit of a replica Ottoman-era barracks with a shopping mall in one of the city’s last green spaces.

Egypt: Brotherhood Leader Calls For Siege of US Embassy

Essam El-Erian, the Vice President of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, has called on Egyptians to besiege the US Embassy to push its staff to leave the country.

“We hope the diplomats will not be exposed to any harm, but we want them out of the country. We do not want them on our land,” said El-Erian, adding that the American role in what he called “the military coup” in Egypt is clear.

Erian also said that the peaceful protests will escalate with more Muslims, Christians, children, and youth joining.
He called on army and intelligence leaders who took part in the “coup” to pack their bags as early as possible because “people will not have mercy on anyone”.

Lebanon: European Union Declares Hezbollah Is “Terrorist”

The European Union declared on Monday that the military wing of the Lebanese organization Hezbollah is a terrorist group.

A French diplomat said the decision of the 28 Foreign Ministers was unanimous.

Iraq: Officials Admit Hundreds of Prisoners Freed By Attack

Having initially said attacks on Abu Ghraib and Taji Prisons were “foiled” overnight, Iraqi officials are now admitting that hundreds of detainees — including leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq — were freed:

Police said 15 soldiers were killed and 13 others were wounded in the Taji attack. At least six attackers were slain.

At Abu Ghraib, 10 policemen were killed and 19 others were wounded, the police said. Four attackers died.

Egypt: 6 Killed in Deadliest Sinai Attacks in July

Six people have been killed and 11 others wounded in attacks in the Sinai Peninsula overnight.

Two civilians, two army officers, and two policemen were killed in at least 10 assaults against police stations and security and army checkpoints in the province’s main northern cities of Rafah and El-Arish.

The daily toll was the worst so far this month.

Since the army’s overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi on July 3, attacks on security checkpoints and other targets have killed at least 20 people.

Egypt: Party Leaders Talk About Post-Coup Politics

Ahram Online posts interviews with leading figures from the National Salvation Front, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salafist Nour Party.

The comments from the NSF, which backed the coup and joined the interim Government, and the Brotherhood, the force behind deposed President Morsi, are unsurprising.

More interesting is the manoeuvring of Nader Bakkar of Nour, which finished second to the Brotherhood in last year’s Parliamentary elections. The party’s support was significant in the decision to remove Morsi, but it has turned down posts in the interim Cabinet.

Bakkar said:

From a technical point of view, this cocktail of ministers cannot work together effectively. They lack the minimum level of integration in order for them to work effectively. Secondly, we advised them to shrink the cabinet to 15 or to 20 ministers.

I hope they succeed because I want Egypt to be stabilised but from a managerial point of view I doubt this collection of people will….

They offered us four portfolios, as well as the position of the vice prime minister, but we did not want to benefit from the 30 June protests. We are a political party and only decided after some time to share in the roadmap in the interests of this nation….

We don’t want a political umbrella for this cabinet: it should be run by technocrats. We advised other political parties not to fall into this trap.