Severed Hands Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Palace Ruins

Archaeologists from the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the Austrian Academy of Sciences excavating a palace in the ancient city of Avaris, Egypt (today  Tell el-Daba) unearthed four pits with skeletons of 16 ancient severed hands.   All the hands were right hands, there were no left hands.

“Most of the hands are quite large and some of them are very large,” Manfred Bietak, project and field director of the excavations, told LiveScience.

The ancient city of Avaris was the capital of Hyksos Egypt.

The hands are about 3,600 years old and date to when Hyksos controlled parts of Egypt.

The Hyksos period is still very obscure from historical point of view, but the long going excavation of the Austrian team has contributed to a series of corrections in its historiography. The population originated most probably from Lebanon and northern Syria, as the newly discovered palace and the pottery shows. They were people with an urban background and came originally in the late 12th Dynasty (Middle Kingdom) as shipbuilders, sailors, soldiers and craftsmen to the country where the pharaohs settled them in a harbour town in the north-eastern Delta, the later city of Avaris. In a time of political weakness they were able to establish a small kingdom there and soon afterwards were able to control the Delta and Middle Egypt until their former vassals in Upper Egypt, particularly king Ahmose defeated them and founded the New Kingdom.  BiblePlaces

The palace is believed to have to have belonged to King Khayan of the Hyksos.  The ancient city of Avaris on the Nile Delta was the capital of Hyksos Egypt.

It was there in this outer space of the palace [forecourt] that two pits with altogether 14 cut off right hands were found.  Two more pits [believed to be the throne room of a palace] with one hand each were found under the four-columned building just at the front enclosure wall of the palace.  auaris.at

The pit of severed hands uncovered at Avaris, Egypt. (Australian Archaeological Institute/Excavation Report)

Right Hands Continue reading “Severed Hands Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Palace Ruins”

Hamas And Fatah Sign Preliminary Reconciliation Deal Over Control Of Gaza Strip

Egyptian-brokered talks between rival Palestinian factions are being held under the direct auspices of Egyptian President  el-Sisi (the meeting was proposed and supported by President Trump.)

He [el-Sisi] wants a deal to permanently halt the movement of militants between Gaza and Sinai, where an Islamic State affiliate has damaged Egypt’s tourist industry as well as the broader recovery El-Sisi wants to portray. Ending the rift in Palestinian ranks could also ease Gaza’s suffering and bolster their hand in future peace talks with Israel. Put together, they point to an assertive Egypt looking to reclaim its role as a regional powerhouse.

There’s the “sense of wanting to re-establish Egyptian leadership and foreign policy activism — putting Egypt back in its rightful place,” said Michael Wahid Hanna, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation in Washington. Bloomberg

Previous attempts at reconciliation between the two sides were unveiled with fanfare and declarations of unity, only to quickly end.

Pressure on Hamas

“The Egyptians have certainly put a lot of pressure on Hamas, but they’re under no illusions about the possibility of this agreement’s early demise,” Eran Lerman, a lecturer at Shalem College in Jerusalem and a former member of Israel’s National Security Council, said. Bloomberg

In June, Egpyt put pressure on Hamas to distance itself from Iran.  Egypt also demanded that Hamas not express support for Qatar.

Relations between Iran and Hamas cooled due to differences over the conflict in Syria.  In 2017, Iran agreed in principle to renew its funding for the Hamas terror group, stated the Times of Israel.

International largesse from Europe, American, NGOs… goes to the Palestinian Authority.   It is supposed to use the money for all the Palestinians including those in Gaza, which it uses it uses to assert authority in Gaza.

Beginning in April and during the summer the PA stopped paying the Gaza utility bills to Israel.  The PA also cut the pay by 30 percent of Gaza government officials and workers who do not work but have remained on the payroll.

Fatah then sent a stark message to Hamas: Reconcile and allow the Palestinian Authority to assume control in Gaza, or manage alone.

“Part of this is Abbas showing he is in control and he is the boss,” said Mahdi Abdul Hadi, director of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, an independent research institute in East Jerusalem. “The message to Hamas is: If you want to govern it, take it.”  NYTimes

Hamas holds few cards.   Egypt keeps the Rafah border crossing in Gaza mostly closed.   Qatar reduced funding to Hamas and Iran has only discussed the renewal of funding.

Preliminary  Deal

Hopes for the agreement, signed under the watchful eye of Egyptian intelligence, were tempered by the knowledge that many previous Palestinian initiatives have failed. Yet there is optimism that this time may be different, partly because the stakes are so much higher.

Hamas, which controls Gaza and has fought Israel three times, said it was ready to cede control of Gaza’s borders and allow the rival Palestinian Authority to effectively take over the day-to-day running of the territory.

Continue reading “Hamas And Fatah Sign Preliminary Reconciliation Deal Over Control Of Gaza Strip”

Saudi Arabia, Egypt Lead Arab States Cutting Ties With Qatar

A  number of Arab nations cut ties with Qatar.  The move escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and accusations it backs the agenda of Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

Iran — long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move — immediately blamed President Donald Trump for setting the stage during his recent trip to Riyadh.

Gulf Arab states and Egypt have long resented Qatar’s support for Islamists, especially the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a dangerous political enemy.

The coordinated move, with the Maldives and Libya’s eastern-based government joining in later, created a dramatic rift among the Arab nations, many of which are in OPEC.

Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups — some backed by regional archrival Iran — and broadcasting their ideology, an apparent reference to Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera.

“(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly,” Saudi state news agency SPA said.

It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi’ite Muslim-populated eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain…

Iran saw America pulling the strings.

“What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted in a reference to Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia. CNBC

Jordan also downgrades ties with Qatar

Jordan will downgrade its diplomatic representation with Qatar, it said on Tuesday, standing with several Arab powers that have cut ties with the tiny Gulf state.

The decision was made after Amman examined the “cause of the crisis” between Doha and the other Arab states, government spokesman Mohammed al Momani said.

He added that Jordan also revoked the TV license for Al Jazeera, Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel. Haaretz

Struggle For Regional Dominance

The decision by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to punish the Gulf Cooperation Council member over its support for Islamist groups — as well as their key rival, Iran — pits some of the world’s richest nations in a struggle for regional dominance. Qatar’s population is smaller than Houston’s, but it has a sovereign wealth fund with stakes in global companies from Barclays Plc to Credit Suisse Group. It’s also a home to the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s central command in the region. Bloomsberg

FLASHBACK: Obama Sent Taliban Terrorists To Qatar

In May of 2014, then President Barack Obama released five Islamic terrorists from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility into Qatar’s custody in exchange for the Taliban’s return of Bowe Bergdahl; the Taliban partly operates its international diplomatic operations via representatives in Qatar…

The New York Post reported that the five Islamic terrorists released to Qatar – dubbed “The Taliban 5” – received a “hero’s welcome” upon arrival in the Islamic Gulf State. DailyWire

Who Were The Ancient Egyptians? Mummy DNA Reveals Ancestry Of Ancient Egypitians

Ancient northern Africans had different genetic roots from people south of the Sahara desert revealed a study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute.

The scientists obtained information about variations in mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child, from 90 mummies. Because of contamination, the team was able to acquire detailed nuclear DNA, which is inherited from both parents, from only three mummies.

Both types of genomic material showed that ancient Egyptians shared little DNA with modern sub-Saharan Africans. Instead, their closest relatives were people living during the Neolithic and Bronze ages in an area known as the Levant. Strikingly, the mummies were more closely related to ancient Europeans and Anatolians than to modern Egyptians. Nature

Researchers used modern genetic analysis techniques to study the genomes of 93 mummies that lived between 1300 BC — the late New Kingdom Period — and around 30 BC during the time of the Romans…

“One of the questions that motivated us for our study is trying to find out when Egypt was conquered by the Greeks or Alexander the Great or by the Nubians or by the Romans, and did that actually have an impact on the population?” said archaeogeneticist Professor Johannes Krause, from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

It’s a question that is difficult to answer using artefacts and historical records, so Professor Krause and his colleagues decided to look in preserved genetic material.

They took samples of biological material from the bones and teeth of the mummies, and extracted the DNA using sequencing techniques that also allow them to verify the genetic material was indeed ancient, and not the result of modern contamination…

Their results were the opposite of what they were expecting to find, Professor Krause said. “They have these closest genetic links to the fertile crescent and the eastern populations of what’s now Israel.”

And yet, at some point in the past 1,500 years, there has been a major addition of sub-Saharan genetic material – largely West-African Yoruba – into Egypt’s population … There is evidence of an active slave trade that reached its peak in the 19th century, and which was responsible for the transportation of millions of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa to Northern Africa and Egypt. ABC.au

Fertile Crescent

Egypt Launches Air Strikes On ‘Terrorist Camps’ In Libya In Response To Attack On Coptic Christians

At least 26 Coptic Christians were killed and 26 others injured earlier Friday when gunmen opened fire on a bus heading to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, located south of Cairo.

Gunmen opened fire on two buses and a truck carrying Coptic Christians in Minya, Egypt on Friday, killing at least 26, including children. Some 26 people were also injured in the attack.

The group of between eight and 10 gunmen, reportedly dressed in military uniforms according to eyewitnesses, approached the convoy in three four-wheel-drive pickup trucks before opening fire, according to local media reports and the Egyptian Interior Ministry. RT

Egypt strike terrorist camps in Libya

Egyptian fighter jets have struck militant camps following the deadly attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians, President Abdel Fattah Sisi has announced. The strikes were carried out in eastern Libya, state television said.

Egypt’s president also vowed to continue striking bases used to train militants and who carry out terrorist attacks in his country, regardless of the camps’ location.

He also reiterated that the countries financing, training and arming terrorists should not get away unpunished.

“We will not hesitate to protect our people from the evil,” he said in a televised speech on Friday.

“Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbor or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt,” the al-Ahram news agency quoted Sisi as saying.

Egypt carried out six air strikes in Derna in eastern Libya, state television reported adding that it is where the militants who carried out the deadly attack on the Coptic Christians were trained.

Following the Libyan incursion, Egyptian armed forces released a short video which was aired on state television following the president’s speech. The voiceover in the army video said its air force carried out strikes on targets in Libya “after confirming their involvement in planning and committing the terrorist attack in Minya governorate on Friday.”

Egypt’s military said that the air strikes are ongoing, local media reports. RT

Freed Egyptian-American Prisoner Returns Home Following President Trump’s Intervention

No ransom pallets needed!

Aya Hijazi, 30, was flown back to the US on Thursday night with her family on a US government jet.

Ms Hijazi, whose charity cared for street children, faced child abuse charges branded false by rights groups. Her release was reportedly agreed before Mr Trump met Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi this month.

Ms Hijazi, a US citizen with dual nationality, and her Egyptian husband, Mohamed Hassanein, set up the Belady Foundation in 2013 to aid street children.

The couple were arrested a year later along with four other humanitarian workers, whose released has also been secured. They were acquitted last Sunday of child abuse and trafficking charges that were dismissed as bogus by US officials. BBC

President Trump and his aides worked for several weeks with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to secure the freedom of Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen, as well as her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who is Egyptian, and four other humanitarian workers. Trump dispatched a U.S. government aircraft to Cairo to bring Hijazi and her family to Washington…

The Obama administration unsuccessfully pressed Sissi’s government for their release. It was not until Trump moved to reset U.S. relations with Egypt by embracing Sissi at the White House on April 3 — he publicly hailed the autocrat’s leadership as “fantastic” and offered the U.S. government’s “strong backing” — that Egypt’s posture changed. Last Sunday, a court in Cairo dropped all charges against Hijazi and the others…

A senior administration official said that no quid pro quo had been offered for Hijazi’s release but that there had been “assurance from the highest levels [of Sissi’s government] that whatever the verdict was, Egypt would use presidential authority to send her home.” The official said the U.S. side interpreted that to mean that a guilty verdict and sentencing would be followed by a pardon from Sissi, but they were pleasantly surprised.

The dropping of charges set in motion the release of Hijazi and Hassanein from custody and their journey to the United States, which was personally overseen by Trump and detailed Thursday by the senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the national security sensitivities of the case. WAPO

Video:  President Trump Meets with Aya Hijazi, Egyptian-American Who Was Freed After 3 Years in Cairo Jail

Palm Sunday Bombings At 2 Coptic Churches In Egypt

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings.  3 police officers were killed preventing the suicide bomber from entering the Alexandria church.  The death count continues to rise.

Pope Tawadros had been at St. Mark’s in Alexandria and left before the blast to go to Tanta after hearing of the earlier blast there.

At least 38 people have been killed following two suspected suicide bombings at Coptic Christian services, Egypt‘s state television reported.

The first attack struck worshippers at a church in Tanta, outside Cairo. The second blast detonated outside the front doors of  a church in Alexandria after three hero police officers prevented a suicide bomber from accessing the building.

 According to General Tarek Atilya: ‘The explosion took place in the front rows, near the altar, during the mass.’  Witness Nabil Nader said: ‘I heard the blast and came running. I found people torn up… some people, only half of their bodies remained.’

More than 38 people have died in both attacks with in excess of 100 injuries.

A second blast happened outside a church in Alexandria killing 11 people and injuring a further 66, Egypt’s health ministry has confirmed.

In the second blast, a suicide bomber approached the church and detonated his vest after being stopped by police.

Three officers died after they prevented the killer from getting into the church and causing greater bloodshed.

Coptic Pope Tawadros II had said Mass in Alexandria before the explosion. DailyMail

Video: St. George’s in Tanta. The bomb was in “the front rows, near the altar, during the mass.”  Some of the deacons seen in the video were killed or injured.

 

Ancient Egyptian Royal Statues Unearthed In Cairo Slum

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany discovered a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum which could depict one of history’s most famous rulers, Pharaoh Ramses II.

Archaeologists in a Cairo suburb – once the site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis – found two 3000-year-old pharaonic statues.

The statues are thought to represent Pharaohs from the 19th dynasty.

One statue stands 26ft (8 metres) tall and is carved out of quartzite – a tough stone composed mainly of quartz.

It could not be identified from its engravings but it was found at the entrance to the temple of King Ramses II – also known as Ramses the Great – suggesting it represents him.

The other relic is a limestone statue of 12th century BC ruler King Seti II [Ramses II’s grandson]. DailyMail

Video:

Five Arrested In Egypt After Using Children To Stage Fake ‘Aleppo’ Footage

A fake video taken at a demolition site in Egypt shows a little girl with red stains on a white dress and bandages being interviewed about life in a war-torn Syrian city.

 

Five people in Port Said allegedly making fake videos purporting to show the wreckage of air strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been arrested, the Egyptian Interior Ministry has said.

The videographer, his assistants and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after police managed to trail the would-be camera crew to a building site awaiting demolition, a statement on Monday said.

The team reportedly admitted they had planned to distribute their work on social media, pretending it showed scenes of the injured and destruction in Aleppo, the embattled northern Syrian city which has just fallen back under government control after four years of fighting between the regime and Sunni rebels.  Independent UK

Explosion At Cairo’s Coptic Cathedral Kills At Least 25 People Including Six Children

St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope.  It is home to Coptic Pope Tawadros II.  A bombing in Cairo’s main Coptic Christian Cathedral has killed at least 25 people, including six children, and wounded a further 35.

A bombing at Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, according to Egyptian state television, making it one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory.

The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a shadowy group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic militants have targeted Christians in the past, including a New Year’s Day bombing in Alexandria in 2011 that killed at least 21 people.

Egypt’s official MENA news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark’s Cathedral, seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.

However, witnesses said the explosion may have been caused by an explosive device planted inside the chapel. Conflicting accounts are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks.

An Associated Press reporter who arrived at the scene shortly after the blast saw blood-stained pews and shards of glass scattered across the chapel’s floor. Men and women wailed and cried outside the chapel.

“I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous, who rushed to the chapel after he heard the blast. His clothes and hands were stained with blood and his hair matted with dust.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by Islamic militants since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a freely elected leader who hailed from the Brotherhood, in 2013. Many of Morsi’s supporters blamed the overthrow on Christians, and several churches and other Christian-owned properties were ransacked in the aftermath.

The authorities have waged a sweeping crackdown in recent years, jailing thousands of mostly Islamist dissidents and killing hundreds in clashes sparked by demonstrations.  AP

Egypt: Christian Children Kicked Out Of School For Refusing To Wear Hijab Or Recite Koran

Human rights community outcry?  Nope.  It’s not “Islamophobia” so it is ok.

Christian children are being deprived of their education and being ousted from schools for refusing to wear a hijab, it has been revealed.

Schools across Egypt are forcing girls of every religion to wear the Muslim headscarf and children of both sexes are being punished if they cannot quote the Koran off by heart.

Even Muslim girls who refuse to wear a hijab are being forced out of school in a country where Coptic Christians have previously been able to live free of persecution.

Rahman Salem, 12, was ordered to leave her lesson and banned from taking part in any activities at her school in the Delta, northern Egypt. Other pupils gave her nasty looks and started leaving the Muslim girl out over the incident…

Last month another school in the same province of Sharqia put in force rules to make all female students wear a hijab, with the al-Nassiriya School’s headteacher posting a large sign saying Islam dress is now part of the girls’ uniform.

And Christian seven-year-old Viola Samir told how her Islamic religious studies teacher held eight Christian pupils in her class of 35 children back.

The teacher then beat anyone who had not learnt the Koran off by heart.

Usually, Christian students in Egypt move to a different classroom during religious studies classes where they learn about Christianity while Muslims stay and learn about Islam.

Viola’s father told Christian persecution website, World Watch Monitor: “When my daughter told the teacher that the extra texts were not part of the Arabic curriculum [which all students have to learn], she was severely punished by her teacher.

“The Christian religious studies teacher complained to the headmaster, but he took no disciplinary action against the Muslim teacher.

“In the end, the teacher allowed the Christian children to leave the class to join their Christian studies class.” ExpressUK

Mummy In ‘Very Good Condition’ Discovered At Thutmose III’s Temple In Luxor

Spanish archaeologists discovered a tomb dating from 1075-664 BC. The mummy was in “very good condition,” bound with linen stuck together with plaster in a brightly colored wooden sarcophagus. It is thought the tomb belonged to a nobleman named Amenrenef, a servant of the royal household.”

The archaeological team’s head, Myriam Seco Alvarez, said the mummy was decorated with “many colorful decorations recalling religious symbols from ancient Egypt, such as the goddesses Isis and Nephtys displaying their wings, and the four sons of Horus.” TimesofIsrael

The earliest evidence of mummification in Egypt suggests that the practice of wrapping bodies to preserve them after death dates back as far as 4500 BC.

King Thutmose III, sometimes called Egypt’s greatest conqueror or ‘the Napoleon of Egypt’, was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Thutmose III constructed over fifty temples and commissioned the building of many tombs for nobles, which were made with greater craftsmanship than ever before.

His own tomb was discovered by Victor Loret in 1898, in the Valley of the Kings.

Luxor, a city of half a million people on the banks of the Nile, abounds with temples and tombs built by Egypt’s pharaohs. DailyMail