Peace efforts

BEIRUT – A US-Russian brokered ceasefire for south-west Syria held through the day, a monitor and rebels said on Sunday, in the first peacemaking effort of the war by the US government under President Donald Trump. The US, Russia and Jordan reached the “de-escalation agreement,” which appeared to give Mr Trump a diplomatic achievement at his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany this week.

Migrants rescued

TRIPOLI – Libyan coast guards rescued about 85 migrants off the shore east of Tripoli on Saturday but about 40 more migrants were believed to be missing, a coast guard officer said. The migrants were rescued about six miles (10 km) north-west of the town of Garabulli after fishing boats spotted them at sea, said Muammar Mohamed Milad, a local coast guard official.

Police shootouts

CAIRO – Egyptian police officers have shot dead 16 gunmen in two shootouts, the country’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday, adding that most of those killed were fugitive militants linked to recent attacks on security forces in Northern Sinai. Egypt faced an Islamist insurgency led by the Islamic State group in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police had been killed since 2013.

Mosul victory

MOSUL – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul on Sunday and congratulated the armed forces for their “victory” over Islamic State after nearly nine months of urban warfare, bringing an end to jihadist rule in the city. Islamic State’s defeat in Mosul three years after taking the city was a major blow for the hardline Sunni Islamist group.

Rival clashes

TRIPOLI – Heavy clashes erupted on Sunday between rival factions on the coastal road east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, according to a witness and local reports. The clashes broke out when an armed group opposed to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli tried to approach the capital and were confronted by forces that have aligned themselves with the GNA, the witness said.

Bodies found

BENGHAZI – Libyan aid workers recovered the bodies of 19 migrants believed to be Egyptians in Libya’s eastern desert, a Red Crescent spokesman said on Sunday. The migrants appeared to have been smuggled into Libya by foot and have perished because of high temperatures and hunger, said Khaled al-Raqi, a Red Crescent spokesman in the east Libyan city of Tobruk.

Man arrested

ROME – Italian police said on Saturday they had arrested a Chechen man suspected of being a militant of Islamic State and involvement in attacks in the Chechen capital Grozny in 2014. The 38-year-old man was accused of crimes of international terrorism and was now in prison in the south Italian town of Foggia, a police statement said.

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