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Arabic press review: Algerian football banner mocks Trump and Salman

An image at an Algerian football match and an Israeli official's Facebook post provoked reactions while new armed groups emerge in Iraq
Algerian football fans raised a banner featuring half of King Salman's face and half of US President Trump's face with the tagline "opposite sides of the same coin” (Twitter)

Half Salman-Half Trump

Saudi Arabia has threatened to respond after Algerian football fans raised a banner during a match that offended King Salman, the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi reports.

The banner on display at a game in the city of Ain Melilla featured half of King Salman's face and half of US President Donald Trump's face with the taglines "opposite sides of the same coin” and “Jerusalem is ours” near an image of Al-Aqsa mosque, according to the newspaper.

Sami al-Saleh, the Saudi ambassador to Algeria, said that the embassy will look into the incident before taking any measure, but said the kingdom would "not let this move pass without a firm response".

Rallies have been held in Algiers and several provinces after Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Some of the chants in the protests have included "The land of Palestine and its holiest city is the capital of one and a half billion Muslims", "The army of the people of you, O Quds [Jerusalem in Arabic]" and "Palestine martyrs".

'Hijacked capital'

Residents in Sanaa are referring to the city as "the hijacked capital" and "the hungry city", according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat after a tour of the city.

According to the report, many living in the capital, which is now dominated by Houthi militias, look at outsiders with fear and suspicion.

"When traveling in Sanaa, the adrenalin levels of the body are high, and photography is only allowed with the prior permission of the group's [the Houthis] national security," according to the report.

"It is no longer an exceptional sight to see a woman or a child tossing in the garbage barrels in search of food scraps . . . The elderly and thousands of children in the streets of Sanaa are starving."

A 37-year-old shopkeeper told the paper, "Sanaa has become a large prison for more than three million people, controlled by 'Lieutenant Houthi' of Iran . . . There is no law, no constitution, no mercy here."

Economists who spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat estimated that the Houthis spend at least 50 billion riyals ($116m) a year printing advertising slogans and publications.

Provocative post

The Israeli military spokesman for Arab media published a video of scenes from Cairo on his Facebook page, provoking angry responses from Egyptians and other Arabs, Al-Mesryoon newspaper reported.

Along with the video - which included scenes from the Nile, parks and busy streets and "Good Morning Egypt" by the singer Tamer Hosny - Avichay Adraee described Egypt as “the mother of the world”. 

Just days after Trump announced that he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, activists on Facebook saw Adraee's post as a mockery. 

"Jerusalem is the promise of God's right," said one on Facebook.

'No less dangerous' than IS

Iraqi political circles believe that several armed groups have recently emerged in the country, replacing the Islamic State (IS) group, according to the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat.

These groups, which are active between Kirkuk and Diyala, include “Al-Rayat Al-Bayda” (The white flags) and the “Volunteers”. They have been able to gain strength as a result of the defeat of IS and the disruption caused by the tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal government in Baghdad.

According to Al-Hayat, US experts have warned that the groups are no less dangerous than IS and run almost daily operations and checkpoints.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.

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