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Arabic press review: Video of men assaulting Ataturk statue infuriates Turks

Meanwhile, the disappearance of the Islamic State's prominent leaders raises questions and Sudanese army steps in to protect anti-regime protesters from security forces assaults.
The video showed two men, one of whom speaks in an Egyptian accent, slapping and cursing the statue of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and its owner (AFP)

Ataturk statue assault sparks anger in Turkey

Turks across the country have expressed outrage on social media after a video began circulating that seems to depict two young Arab men disrespecting a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic. 

The video clip shows the two young men slapping the face of the Ataturk statue while cursing and insulting it, according to the electronic newspaper Arabi21.

The insults were said in what seems to be an Egyptian Arabic accent. 

Attiyah Adlan, a Turkish-Egyptian political leader, issued an apology for the actions of the two young men, but denied that either of the offender were Egyptian nationals or part of Turkey's Egyptian community. 

"The [Egyptian] community rejects this despicable behaviour," Adlan said in a statement, according to Arabi21. 

"No one has the right to attack the heritage of a nation and its symbols or violate its laws," Adlan continued, adding that the Egyptian and wider Arab communities in Turkey have historically lived in Turkey with respect for the nation's laws and culture. 

Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been unstable since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over the presidency in Egypt in 2013, removing elected president Mohamed Morsi, a move Ankara strongly rejected.  

The search for Islamic State leaders

The unknown whereabouts of the Islamic State's leaders and the mystery surrounding their fate has raised many questions since the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced "the destruction of IS and the end of its control over the last pockets of Baghouz" in March, the London-based newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed writes.

Many questions have been raised about the fate of the most prominent faces of the organisation, including leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chairman Hajji Abd al-Nasser, the current spokesman for the organisation Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, and other senior leaders who have not been arrested, according to the newspaper.

Thousands of IS militants surrendered to the SDF and the international coalition after being unable to withdraw. However, no high-ranking IS leaders were arrested during the last battles which took place in Baghouz, thus, the fate of the most prominent leaders is still unknown, according to the newspaper.

Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed stressed that a large number of IS leaders may have been killed, but some of them might have been able to "hide and change their names and whereabouts”.

The newspaper said it is possible IS leaders may have moved to Iraq's al-Anbar and Nineveh provinces, less than one kilometre from Baghouz on Syria's border with Iraq.

Sudanese soldiers protect demonstrators

Eyewitnesses and demonstrators say that Sudanese soldiers intervened to protect protesters from security forces trying to disperse their sit-ins in front of the Ministry of Defence in Khartoum, according to Algerian newspaper Echorouk El Yawmi.

Security forces on pickup trucks fired tear gas at thousands of anti-government protesters.

The protesters camped for two nights outside the compound hosting the Ministry of Defence in an attempt to force President Omar al-Bashir to step down after nearly 30 years in power.

Previous attempts by the security forces to disperse the protesters have failed.

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