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EGYPT

Swedish journalists attacked by Cairo mob

Two Swedish reporters were attacked by an angry mob Wednesday while reporting in an impoverished area of Cairo before a soldier arrested them and held them for several hours, their daily said.

Swedish journalists attacked by Cairo mob

A reporter and a photographer of the Aftonbladet tabloid – who were accompanied by an interpreter and a driver — were reporting on how the poorest Egyptians found food during the unrest that has rocked the Arab nation.

When the journalists got out of their car to ask a woman rummaging through garbage if they could film her, a mob suddenly formed around the pair.

“The crowd took the car keys and, the driver’s SIM card, placed rocks in front of the car wheels and spat in our faces” saying the team was from Israel’s Mossad spy agency, reporter Karin Östman said.

A soldier came to help the journalists, but then refused to release them and threatened them, she added.

“He said that if he killed us right then no one would find us, and ordered us to stay in the car,” she said, explaining that the soldier and other troops let them go after a few hours.

The incident comes on a day which saw supporters of embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak take to the streets in an attempt to show the Egyptian leader was not without allies following a week of protests calling for his ouster.

On Tuesday, Mubarak announced he would not run for reelection in Egypt’s September vote, news which did little to quell the growing tide of sentiment against him.

Hundreds of protesters were injured in clashes on Wednesday between pro-Mubarak demonstrators and anti-government protestors who want the president to step down immediately.

As the political crisis continues, Swedish tour operators have also been busy flying Swedes home who have been on vacation in Egypt.

Nevertheless, the Swedish foreign ministry estimates that several thousand Swedes will still be in Egypt by the end of the week.

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BURIAL

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt

A Swedish archeologist has discovered a 3,000-year-old mass grave at the Gebel el-Silsila site in southern Egypt.

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt
John Ward and the team with one of the sarcophogi. Photo: Gebel El Silsila Project
Maria Nilsson, Researcher in Classical Archeology at Lund University, told Sweden’s TT newswire that although her group had so far dug through less than half of the grave site, they had already found a large number of human remains. 
 
“It’s just skeleton after skeleton after skeleton,” she said. “We haven’t yet finished the first chamber, but we have so far taken up 50 adults and 25 children.” 
 
Nilsson and her British husband John Ward, who is the project’s Assistant Director, announced the discovery in a video after it was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity on Thursday. 
 

 
The group discovered the shaft last year, but only realised its full significance when they started digging this October. The shaft was found five metres under ground and leads to two chambers, each filled with water, sand and sludge. 
 
View to the south-east of chamber 1. Photo: Gebel el Silsila Project
 
The grave is thought to date from Egypt’s 18th dynasty, making it around 3,400 years old. As well as bodies, the archeologists have found burial goods, such as scarabs, amulets, and different types of pots, coming from three generations of pharoahs: Thutmosis II, III och Amenhotep II.
 
Writing in her blog, Nilsson, said that no similar mass grave had been found as part of the dig. 
 
“No other tomb documented at Gebel el-Silsila previously has contained such a high number of entombed individuals,” she wrote.
 
“One of the more important results of the discovery at Gebel el-Silsila is the amount of buried children and women, indicating that there was a complete society with entire families living and working in ancient Kheny.”
 
 
Men-Kheper-Re scarab. Photo: Anders Andersson
 
“What we can see from the burial goods and the actual architecture of the tomb is that they belonged to the upper middle-class,” Nilsson said. “For various reasons, we believe that they were involved in quarry work.” 
 
The archeologists have several theories for why so many bodies were collected in the same place. 
 
Perhaps it was a kind of temporary morgue where Egypt’s priests kept bodies while waiting for grave sites to become available. Perhaps there had been an epidemic.   
 
In February Maria Nilsson and John Ward are returning to Sweden, and will be returning to the burial place next autumn. 
 
View from the shaft into chamber.  Photo: Anders Andersson
 
 
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