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Avoid any Cairo demos: Kuwait

CAIRO, Feb 20, (Agencies): The Kuwaiti Embassy in Cairo called on Kuwaiti nationals on Thursday to stay away from any gatherings or demonstrations that might take place in Egypt. The embassy stressed in a statement the need to comply with the instructions issued in this regard. In order to ensure their safety and to assess their needs, Kuwaiti citizens may contact the embassy on the following hotlines: +20235712194, +20235712187 and +20235714101.

Meanwhile, Egyptian security officials say army helicopter gunships have rocketed several houses where militants were thought to have gathered in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 10. They said Wednesday night’s raids targeted a large house in the town of Sheikh Zuwayed and several others in nearby villages. They claimed the dead included senior members of the al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Champions of Jerusalem. The group has claimed responsibility for attacks across Egypt in recent months that have killed dozens of people, mostly police and military. Militants in northern Sinai for years targeted security forces there, but stepped up their attacks after the July ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. In other news, Egypt put three Al Jazeera journalists on trial on Thursday on charges of aiding members of a “terrorist organisation”, in a case that human rights groups say shows the authorities are trampling on freedom of expression. The journalists, wearing white prison outfits, appeared in metal cages, a Reuters witness said. Six others identified as Al Jazeera journalists are being tried in absentia. Three of the Qatar-based television network’s journalists - Peter Greste, an Australian, Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian - were detained in Cairo on Dec 29 and remain in custody, Al Jazeera said.

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