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Arabic press review: Egypt's spy chief postpones Israel trip over deal row

Meanwhile, health of Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia deteriorating and drones penetrate Iranian airspace
Major General Abbas Kamel, Egypt's intelligence chief (L) embraces Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' political chief in Gaza, in Gaza City on 31 May 2021 (AFP)

Egypt's spy chief postpones Israel trip 

Egyptian sources have revealed that the visit to Israel of Major General Abbas Kamel, the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, which was scheduled for the end of last month, has been postponed until the end of December, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The sources, who are familiar with the details of the mediation led by Cairo between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, said the postponement came after Egyptian negotiators had "failed to obtain Israeli approval regarding Hamas' conception of the first phase of the prisoners' exchange deal".

The sources said Hamas was committed to its offer to Israel that it would hand over a video explaining the fate of two of its prisoners, in exchange for the release of a group of Palestinian female and elderly prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

However, the sources said the Israeli side had strongly refused the deal, demanding to know about the status of its captured soldiers without anything in return.

The sources said the refusal, along with other issues related to it, especially regarding the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, had led to the postponement of Kamel's visit.

The sources said: "[The] Hamas movement succeeded during the last period in not linking the humanitarian facilities, reconstruction and pacification completely to the prisoners' case. 

"But with regard to the Egyptian mediation, all the issues are linked to each other, and the obstruction of a case affects the others."

The sources said that Egypt had pressured the Palestinian factions, led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in order to achieve some Israeli demands with regional dimensions, for the sake of reaching an agreement on the prisoner deal and a comprehensive truce agreement.

As a result there was anger with the Israelis on the Egyptian side, which had made great strides in preparing for the reconstruction operations in the Gaza Strip and consolidating the ceasefire.

Drones penetrate airspace over Iranian nuclear facility

Iranian sources say unidentified reconnaissance aircraft penetrated the country's airspace on Saturday to spy on the Natanz nuclear facility and military sites near it, according to Kuwait's Al-Qabas newspaper.

Explosions were heard on Saturday above the facility, with the government saying it had conducted exercises to repel any possible attacks, the newspaper reported.

According to the sources, at least five drones passed through Iranian air defences, noting that the Iranians had failed to shoot down any of the aircraft.

They said the drones had continued to fly over the facility for more than 40 minutes and that missiles fired at them had landed near villages around the facility.

The sources said following the failure to shoot down the drones, the air force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards had used jamming systems, which had resulted in communications and the internet being cut off in large areas of the city of Natanz.

The sources said the incident indicated that the facility could be exposed to possible attacks.

Last week, Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the country was ready to act against Iran over its nuclear programme.

Health of Palestinians detained in Saudi prisons deteriorating

The families of a number of Palestinian detainees in Saudi prisons have revealed a significant deterioration in their health due to the conditions they are being held in, as Saudi authorities continue to refuse to release any of them, according to a report by the Palestinian Quds Press Agency.

Khader al-Mashaikh, the head of the detainees' families committee, said: "Some of them have kidney disease, and others paralysed hands, and others suffer from severe chronic diseases, which pose a real danger to their health.

Arabic press review: Saudi court sentences more Jordanians and Palestinians
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"The most severe situation that the detainees in Saudi prisons have experienced is the corona pandemic, the solitary confinement of all detainees, and the the lack of communication between the detainees and their families."

Mashaikh pointed to people's shock at the sentences issued against the detainees on 8 August by the Saudi Criminal Court.

The sentences for the 69 Jordanians and Palestinians range from acquittal to 22 years in prison, including 15 years for Mohammed al-Khudari, the former representative of Hamas in the kingdom.

Mashaikh said: "We hoped that there would be a breakthrough in the detainees' cases, especially since they were not registered to have committed any crime inside Saudi territory."

On 8 November, a Saudi appeals court postponed its consideration of the verdicts issued against the Jordanian and Palestinian detainees.

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

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