Mirghani Accorded Warm Welcome on Return to Sudan 

Supporters of Sudanese political and religious leader Mohamed Othman al-Mirghani gather at the airport to welcome him as he arrives in Khartoum, Sudan November 21, 2022. (Reuters)
Supporters of Sudanese political and religious leader Mohamed Othman al-Mirghani gather at the airport to welcome him as he arrives in Khartoum, Sudan November 21, 2022. (Reuters)
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Mirghani Accorded Warm Welcome on Return to Sudan 

Supporters of Sudanese political and religious leader Mohamed Othman al-Mirghani gather at the airport to welcome him as he arrives in Khartoum, Sudan November 21, 2022. (Reuters)
Supporters of Sudanese political and religious leader Mohamed Othman al-Mirghani gather at the airport to welcome him as he arrives in Khartoum, Sudan November 21, 2022. (Reuters)

Veteran Sudanese political and religious leader Mohamed Othman al-Mirghani arrived in Khartoum from Egypt on Monday, throwing his clout against a possible agreement between pro-democracy groups and the military. 

Mirghani has been based in Egypt for about a decade and his arrival follows military leaders and the former ruling Forces of Freedom and Change coalition saying they had reached understandings including the military's exit from politics. 

Western, Gulf and United Nations facilitators have been trying to break a stalemate that took hold after the military seized power 13 months ago, halting a political transition following the 2019 ouster of Omar al-Bashir, who led Sudan for 30 years. 

Mirghani, leader of the main faction of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), one of Sudan's most significant blocs, and the large Khatmiya Sufi sect, was met by thousands of followers beating drums at Khartoum's main airport. 

The DUP has a strong support base in rural areas of Sudan but has lately been embroiled in a struggle between al-Mirghani's two sons - Jaafer who has aligned with rebel groups opposed to the deal, and Elhassan who has supported it. 

In a filmed statement released on Wednesday, the elderly Mirghani rejected a hasty agreement and foreign intervention in the political crisis, and assigned Jaafer with closing ranks in the party as his deputy. 

"Hasty steps in the wrong direction and the rush to offer solutions before their time can bring about great harm," he said, recalling past experiences of foreign-brokered agreements. 

Three DUP sources said Mirghani's return aimed to end the dispute in favor of Jaafer and against the deal, a move they said threatened to fracture the party further. 



Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
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Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave's biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday.

The offensive, 10 months into Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as US-backed mediators sought to finalize a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7.

According to Reuters, the Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.

Both residents and rescue teams cautioned that while tanks withdrew from some areas, Israeli snipers and tanks continued to control high ground at some locations, and warned residents against trying to return to their homes in those areas.

"There are bodies scattered in the streets, dismembered bodies, there are bodies of entire families, there are also bodies inside a home of an entire family that was completely burned," Gaza Strip Civil Defense spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in comments carried by media in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Israeli military had said on Thursday that its forces were working to dismantle Hamas capabilities in Gaza City, and that it "follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm." It said the same was not true of Hamas.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said they had fought fierce battles against Israeli forces, attacking them with anti-tank rockets and mortar fire, killing and wounding many. There has been no Israeli army comment on those claims.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza's residents before the war, Gaza City was largely razed to the ground in late 2023, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have returned to homes in the ruins. Israel has once again ordered them out, though it is unclear where residents can go safely. Israel controls most of Gaza's borders and is also attacking central and southern Gaza.