Entries in Al Jazeera (5)


Yasser Arafat's Body to Be Exhumed

JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Palestinian leaders agreed today to exhume the body of Yasser Arafat after a television documentary suggested that he had been assassinated while being treated in a Paris hospital.

Arafat was 75 and had long been ill when he slipped into a coma and died on Nov. 11, 2004. He had been suffering from a mysterious illness. The cause of the death was never determined and French medical officials would not release details of his illness because of privacy laws. The medical report was given to his family.

The television network al Jazeera broadcast a documentary this week in which a Swiss institute examined clothing provided by Arafat's widow Suha and determined there were high levels of polonium-210, the same substance found to have killed a former Russian spy in London in 2006.

Suha Arafat has since called for her husband's body to be exhumed from its mausoleum in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Presidential adviser Nabil Abu Rdeineh said today that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has given instructions to launch an investigation with international experts to look into the findings of the al Jazeera report.

The Abbas regime will agree to exhume the body, and senior PA official Saab Erakaat demanded that it be conducted by an international committee.

The al Jazeera report was the subject in every shop and street corner throughout the Palestinian territory. In East Jerusalem's main commercial street Saleh al Din, it replaced conversations about the Arab Spring and the Syrian crisis.

People were critical of the PA for not doing anything to advance an investigation of Arafat's death instead of al Jazeera.

And most people said the reports confirmed their own suspicions.

Ahmed Batta, a barber shop owner in East Jerusalem, told ABC News, "We knew for a long time that Arafat was poisoned. What we need to know now is who is behind the killing?"

Batta, 45, had prime suspects in mind.

"The Israeli Mossa and the American CIA," he said.

Arafat's body must be exhumed "so we will know the truth and also we might find who was behind it," Batta said.

Bookstore owner Iyad Muna, 42, told ABC News, "Arafat was killed and we knew that. And we know more than that. We knew that Israel killed him, but there was a lack in evidence. Yesterday we got the evidence."

"Arafat was the symbol of the Palestinian struggle and fight for freedom, but the PA will stay silent because they are interested in keeping the so called peace talks" with Israel, Muna said.

Iyad Dajani, a travel agent, praised al Jazeera's findings and wants them followed up. "It was always on our mind (that Arafat was killed)," he said.

Dajani, 47, however, does not want Arafat's body to be disturbed.

"The truth is there with the military hospital in Paris, and it will be disrespectful for such a great leader like Arafat to have his body exhumed," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Video of French Shootings Won’t Be Aired, Network Says

ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Before he was killed by French special forces, the man accused of murdering Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and soldiers in France was allegedly able to get a video of his brutal attacks to a major news organization.  But that video will not be aired, the organization said.

Al-Jazeera, an Arabic- and English-language news outlet based in Qatar, said on Tuesday it will not air a video received by mail called “Al Qaeda Attacks France” that shows the three attacks in Toulouse and Montauban attributed to Mohamed Merah.  The network decided not to air the video because it “did not add any information that was not already in [the] public domain… [and] did not meet the television station’s code of ethics for broadcast," according to a statement posted on its website.

Al-Jazeera’s Paris bureau chief, Zied Tarrouche, told a French television station the video contained edited footage of the killings along with music, religious singing and readings from the Quran.

“You can hear the gunshots at the time of the killings,” he told BFM-TV.  “You can hear the cries of the victims.”

In the statement, Al-Jazeera said the video did not show Merah’s face, nor did it contain a statement from him.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the filming of the shootings “diabolical” and had asked the managers of any television stations that had the footage “not to air them under any circumstances out of respect for the victims and out of respect for the Republic [of France].”

While police believe Merah was the lone gunman in the killings, they said he did not send the video and now authorities are trying to track down a possible accomplice, according to French media reports.

Merah, 23, was killed last week after a 32-hour standoff with French special forces.  French authorities believe Merah was responsible for three separate attacks in France -- the shooting of three French paratroopers on March 11 and 15, and then the murder of a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren ages 4, 5 and 7 on March 19.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sec. of State Clinton: Al Jazeera Is 'Real News,' US Losing 'Information War'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear Wednesday that she is worried the United States is losing what she calls the “information war” abroad.

China and Russia, she says, have started English-language networks that push their message overseas and even the Taliban controls the airwaves in Afghanistan.

And in the Arab world? Al Jazeera is king, and Clinton says she can see why.

“Al Jazeera has been the leader in that [they] are literally changing people’s minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective,” she said.

“In fact viewership of al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners,” she added.

Clinton’s State Department has tried to keep up, especially on social media, where this year they have started Tweeting in Arabic, Farsi, and other languages. Secretary Clinton last week held a Web chat with a popular Egyptian site that was able to gather 6,500 questions for her in just two days.

“We are really trying to play in that arena as best we can,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Egypt: Google Manager and Activist Released By Government

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- A Google executive believed to be a key person in rallying demonstrations that have nearly toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, was released Monday after nearly two weeks in detention.

Wael Ghonim, a marketing manager at Google who disappeared more than a week ago, was freed Monday by the Egyptian government.  The longtime activist, who organized protests through social media, was captured by security forces on Jan. 28.

In one of his last tweets on Jan. 27, Ghonim expressed his strong passion against the current regime.  "Pray for #Egypt.  Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people.  We are all ready to die," he wrote.

Dissenters who were taken into custody in recent days have emerged to describe scary details.  Al Jazeera English correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, who was detained for a day, told ABC News that he was bound, blindfolded and threatened.  While he was in custody, he heard people being tortured in neighboring rooms.

"People who were sitting next to us who were in the crowd -- not journalists -- they were slapped, they were kicked, they were beaten," Mohyeldin said.  "I saw them use a great deal of violence against the people who were there."

New York Times reporter Nick Kulish, who was also detained, told ABC News he also heard people being tortured in neighboring rooms while he was in jail.

"We spoke to hundreds of people and they all said the same thing, which was you know, that police abuse, violence by the police was one of the things that they were fighting against," Kulish said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: Al Jazeera Office Stormed By Protesters, Website Hacked

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- Protesters stormed Al Jazeera’s Cairo office on Friday, setting fires and damaging equipment inside the news network's Egyptian workspace.

There were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

“It appears to be the latest attempt by the Egyptian regime or its supporters to hinder Al Jazeera’s coverage of events in the country,” the network said in a press release.

Earlier Friday, the network reported that its Arabic-language website was hacked, “apparently by opponents of the pro-democracy movement.”

Al Jazeera said that for two hours a banner reading “Together for the collapse of Egypt” was displayed on its site, linking to a page criticizing the network.

“While the deliberate attacks this morning were an attempt to discredit us we will continue our impartial and comprehensive coverage of these unprecedented events,” an Al Jazeera spokesman said in a statement.

Since the anti-government protests began last month, the network has been forced to shut down its operation in the region and its journalists have had to forfeit their press credentials. Several of the network’s journalists have been arrested and released.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio