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Arabic press review: No major Egyptian operation in Libya, despite Sisi's threats

Meanwhile, coronavirus spreads among inmates in Cairo prison and Palestinians call for a new uprising against West Bank annexation
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meeting with Libyan rebel commander Khalifa Haftar (L) at the presidential palace in Cairo on 9 May 2019 (AFP)

Sisi’s motivation for war in Libya

Egyptian diplomatic and government sources say Egypt will not send ground or naval troops to support Khalifa Haftar, following Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s threat of direct military intervention in Libya, according to the London-based newspaper al-Araby al-Jadid.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources told the newspaper it was possible to carry out "limited operations" inside the eastern region of Libya to gain strategic control.

“The most that can be done is to launch air strikes to prevent the advance of hostile forces," they said.  

They said that the president’s statements were not new, only that they have now been made official. 

The sources clarified that Egypt wants to find a place for itself in Libya, following the massive defeat that Haftar had suffered recently at the hands of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord.

They stressed that Sisi is completely aware that waging a full-scale war in Libya is not an option. 

Covid-19 spreads in Cairo prison

Detainees in an Egyptian prison have claimed that the coronavirus is spreading amongst inmates while no precautionary measures to contain the disease are being taken, according to the Arabi21 news site.

The detainees in the heavily guarded al-Aqrab Prison in Cairo say more than 300 people there have contracted the virus. 

'There are no steps or procedures for treatment or prevention, but rather a state of secrecy and a severe siege on the reality of conditions inside the prison'

- detainee letter

"We send you our message, which is probably the last one, with our inmates who stood before the judge, to tell you that the coronavirus pandemic has spread in most of the prison wards," the detainees said in a letter addressed to Egypt and the world. 

Infected prisoners are not isolated nor are they given appropriate medical care, the paper reported, adding that those suffering with severe symptoms have not been taken to hospitals. 

"Where is the public prosecutor overseeing the prisons? What is his opinion regarding what is happening to us? Will they just extract burial permits for us? Where are those responsible for the prison and what do they do to save our lives?" the letter asked.  

The prisoners said they have applied as much pressure to prison authorities as they possibly could, but to no effect. 

"We are not criminals, but victims of fabricated charges as a result of political disagreements that can be resolved at any time. There are no steps or procedures for treatment or prevention, but rather a state of secrecy and a severe siege on the reality of conditions inside the prison," the detainees wrote.  

Palestinians call for a new intifada 

The Fatah movement has escalated its efforts to counter Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, echoing previous intifadas, according to London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi.

Fatah leaders called on Palestinians throughout the West Bank to "crawl" into the Jordan Valley, which is under threat of annexation, to participate in a mass gathering. 

'If annexation takes place, we will not suffer alone, and we will not die alone'

- Major General Jibril Rajoub, Fatah

The movement has also called on Palestinians from all over the world to engage in activities against the annexation plan.

"There is a Palestinian consensus on popular resistance at this point, but we are ready to move to another phase if there is consent to do so," secretary of Fatah's central committee Major General Jibril Rajoub said at a news conference. 

"If annexation takes place, we will not suffer alone, and we will not die alone," added Rajoub, who has been tasked with efforts to counter the Israeli move.

"The time has come to raise a red card in the face of the occupation. Our activities reflect our aspirations, hopes and belief in our cause. This does not require the consensus of Fatah, Hamas or anyone else, but rather a national consensus," Rajoub, who also heads the Palestinian football association, said. 

He added that Fatah was ready to talk with the other factions to unite their position, representation and leadership.

Kuwait releases 1,300 prisoners

Senior sources in Kuwait have revealed that authorities will release 1,300 prisoners within 72 hours, following an amnesty approved by the emir aimed at reducing overcrowding in prisons to counter the spread of coronavirus, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas.

"The release of those covered by the amnesty will take place within 72 hours, on condition that none of them is charged with crimes of state security, insulting the emir of Kuwait, participating in the embezzlement of public funds or insulting a neighbouring country,” al-Qabas was told.

The sources confirmed that the files of the prisoners covered by the emir's special pardon had been approved and their release was imminent. 

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