BBC News Middle East

Top Stories

Latest Updates

  1. Libyans fail to agree at election pow-wow

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    UN-brokered talks in Geneva aimed at paving the way for elections in Libya have ended with little progress.

    The country’s two rivals for power - the eastern-based House of Representatives and Tripoli’s High State Council - failed to agree on the eligibility of candidates for the polls.

    Disputes on this issue led to the postponement of presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of last year.

    Many Libyans fear that without an agreement their divided country, which has seen little real peace since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi a decade ago, could be plunged back into conflict.

  2. UN chief shocked by Morocco migrant violence

    UN Secretary General António Guterres has joined in the chorus of condemnation after at least 23 migrants died as Moroccan security forces tried to stop them crossing into the Spanish enclave of Melilla last week.

    In a statement issued on Twitter, he said he was "shocked by the violence".

    "The use of excessive force is unacceptable, and the human rights and dignity of people on the move must be prioritized by countries," he added.

    View more on twitter

    Between 1,500 and 2,000 migrants who had been camping in the Moroccan mountains surrounding Melilla descended on the city's border last Friday, a number of them carrying sticks, hoping to scale the border fences and therefore reach Spanish territory.

    In the chaos that followed, many of them were crushed between the six-metre-high fences and Moroccan border guards, who used tear gas and batons on the migrants.

    On Sunday, the head of the AU commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed his "shock and concern at the violent and degrading treatment of African migrants".

    Read more:

  3. Death sentence for man who murdered Egyptian student

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    Image caption: Nayera Ashraf, 21, had previously reported her fears about being attacked

    An Egyptian court has recommended the death sentence for a man who murdered a student after she had refused to marry him.

    The defendant, Mohamed Adel, pleaded guilty to stabbing Nayera Ashraf to death outside Mansoura University north of the capital, Cairo.

    The case caused outrage across Egypt when a video of the killing went viral after being posted online.

    Ms Ashraf had previously reported her fears about being attacked after receiving death threats on her phone.

    The verdict was met with celebrations in front of the courthouse.

    The AFP news agency explains that the verdict will now be referred to Egypt's top theological authority - the grand mufti - which is a formality in death penalty cases.

    Egypt carried out the third-highest number of executions in the world last year, according to Amnesty International.

  4. UN calls for courage as Libya rivals begin talks

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service News

    As talks begin in Geneva between rival institutions in Libya, the UN has called for a “final and courageous effort” to break the deadlock over rules for long-awaited elections.

    The leader of Libya's eastern-based parliament, Aguila Saleh, and the president of Tripoli’s high council of state, Khalid Al-Mishri, will be holding two days of UN-brokered negotiations.

    Presidential and parliamentary elections had been scheduled for December last year, but were postponed after bitter disputes over who could stand and the legal basis of the poll.

    There have been repeated skirmishes between armed groups in Tripoli recently prompting fears of a return to full-scale conflict.

    More stories from Libya:

  5. Video content

    Video caption: Truss pressed on questioning Middle East on human rights

    The foreign secretary says she is "trying to remember" when asked to name which human rights issues she has raised with Gulf state leaders.

  6. Manhunt for Egyptian judge accused of wife's murder

    Youssef Taha

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    Image caption: Shaimaa Gamal became notorious a few years ago for appearing to snort heroin live on air

    A huge manhunt is under way in Egypt for a leading judge accused of murdering his television presenter wife, whom he reported missing from a shopping mall near Cairo three weeks ago.

    A man, claiming to be the Judge Ayman Hajjaj’s accomplice, had led the authorities to a farm where Shaimaa Gamal's body was found, the public prosecutor's office said.

    Officials at the scene said an attempt had been made to disfigure her body in order to prevent identification.

    The public prosecutor's office said its investigations had proved that the TV anchor was last seen with her husband at the shopping centre.

    The judge is deputy chairman of Egypt's powerful council of state, which has lifted his immunity.

    An international arrest warrant has also been issued as Mr Hajjaj had recently obtained visas for Canada and Poland.

    Gamal became notorious a few years ago after appearing to snort heroine live on air. She said the substance was sugar, but the TV presenter was suspended for three months.

    Statistics show that one third of women in Egypt are victims of domestic violence.

  7. Morocco migrant deaths need independent probe - UN

    Warren Bull

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    Image caption: Melilla and its sister city Ceuta are the only land borders between African and Europe

    The UN has called for an independent inquiry into the deaths of 23 people, after hundreds of migrants tried to break into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco.

    The Moroccan authorities say a number of people were crushed to death in a stampede on Friday after a section of border fence was cut open, while others may have been killed after falling from a border fence.

    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has blamed people traffickers.

    But the incident has provoked protests in Spain, with demonstrators saying the government's hard-line policies are forcing migrants to take desperate measures.

    Related stories:

  8. Tunisia court releases ex-PM after hunger strike

    BBC World Service

    Image caption: Hamadi Jebali served from 2011 to 2013

    A lawyer for the former Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, says his client has been released by a judge, four days after he was detained on suspicion of money laundering.

    Mr Jebali had gone on hunger strike to protest against his detention and had been taken to hospital on Saturday.

    During his premiership from 2011 to 2013, Mr Jebali belonged to the Ennahda Islamist party - the largest in parliament until President Kaïs Saïed dissolved the assembly and seized executive power in Tunisia last year.

    The party had said his arrest was part of a campaign of settling political scores.

    Related story:

  9. Tunisia's top union calls another general strike

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service News

    Image caption: Workers are resisting wage freezes and cuts to subsidies

    Tunisia's most powerful union has called for a second general strike in protest at government economic policies.

    The UGTT has about a million members, and its last nationwide strike earlier this month brought the north African country to a standstill.

    The Tunisian government is preparing to negotiate a loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to save public finances from bankruptcy.

    The union, which represents many public sector workers, has said it will refuse to accept IMF demands for a wage freeze and cuts in food and energy subsidies.

    No date has yet been set for the strike.

Page 1 of 50