Leila Fadel

Leila Fadel is NPR's international correspondent based in Cairo.

Before joining NPR, she covered the Middle East for The Washington Post. In her role as Cairo Bureau Chief she reported on a wave of revolts and their aftermaths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria.

Prior to her position as Cairo Bureau Chief for the Post, she covered the Iraq war for nearly five years with Knight Ridder, McClatchy Newspapers and later the Washington Post. Her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George. R. Polk award in 2007.

Leila Fadel is a Lebanese-American journalist who speaks conversational Arabic and was raised in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Protests broke out in Saudi Arabia this week over the death sentence of a leading Shiite cleric. Human rights activists call his sentencing political and warn that by killing him, the country may deepen sectarian discord and spur more violence.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a leading voice during protests in 2011 and 2012 by the minority Shiite Muslim community.

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Next we have a story of working women, in particular, working women in the Arab world.

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Leeza Guerges sits on the concrete floor of the unfinished building where she lives now.

She calls for her two kids, husband and in-laws to eat the eggs, meat and rice she's prepared. The meat was donated, a rare treat for the family displaced from their home near the northern city of Mosul when ISIS took it about two months ago.

They gather together on the floor and for a moment try to forget that they can't go home, and everything they once had is lost.

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When militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State swept through the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in August, they killed hundreds and kidnapped unknown numbers of men, women and children.

The fate of most of them is still unknown, but activists and those who have escaped recount horror stories of rapes and beatings. They're trying to focus international attention on those still being held.

In English, the 22-year-old woman's name means life. She's afraid to let us use it for the safety of the hostages that ISIS still holds. She was taken with thousands of other women and children, but she escaped, and now they're searching for her. Her nickname is Dudu.

We meet her and her four younger sisters inside a shipping container that's propped up on cinder blocks and fashioned into a makeshift shelter. It's where her extended family lives now, just outside the northern Kurdish city of Dohuk.

In northern Iraq, U.S. airstrikes have been taking place for more than a month, yet the self-declared Islamic State still controls nearly a third of the country and hasn't been forced out of any major strongholds.

In the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, the pro-American authorities say they need more air power while they train to fight the Islamic State in nearby areas.

And in the northern city of Mosul, which the Islamic State captured in June, residents say the bombings have lifted morale among those who oppose the extremist group.

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As Libya has descended into chaos, it has split into two broad camps. On one side is Libya Dawn, an Islamist-backed umbrella group; on the other is a renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, who is based in the eastern part of the country along with his allies.

As this power struggle has escalated, it is no longer just an internal Libyan conflict. It is now being fought regionally, with parallels to other battles playing out in North Africa and the Middle East.

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Human rights groups are accusing the Iraqi government of indiscriminate bombing. Baghdad officials deny that and note they're fighting a Sunni insurgency that commits mass executions and suicide bombings.

Yet rights workers say civilians are being killed by government attacks with so-called barrel bombs — the crude weapons made famous in Syria's current conflict. Barrel bombs are illegal and indiscriminate explosives, packed in things like oil drums or gas cylinders.

Abu Wissam speaks to us by phone from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. He asks us to use his nickname to protect him, his family and his missing father before he recounts his father's kidnapping.

The men came on evening of July 3, just before Abu Wissam's family was preparing to break their day-long fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

"There were seven of them and before I knew it they were in our kitchen," he says.

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For the first time since the first century, there are basically no Christians left in the historic Iraqi city of Mosul.

A small Sunni Arab town north of Baghdad put up a fight when Sunni Muslim extremists from the so-called Islamic State tried to impose their rule on the town.

The residents lost, and now the town, Zowiya, just outside of Tikrit, is destroyed. More than 200 of its homes have been blown up, and the residents have fled.

The Islamic State leveled the town as a warning to anybody else that dares to fight them.

"My town is gone," says Abu Saad, a businessman in his sixties. "They bombed all our houses. Everything we have is gone."

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It's 2 p.m. on a hot day in Cairo and cars are lined up for blocks at this gas station in the east of the capital. People are waiting to fill their cars with the cheapest gas available — which is 78 percent more expensive than it was last week.

Ali Fayoumi yells from his window.

"I've been waiting for an hour and a half," he fumes. "Even the cheapest gas is too expensive. Everything is expensive, food, drink, everything."

The beach bums of Tripoli say that no matter who's in charge of Libya, they'll still be at the beach. Faisal Ali Kabir was here the night that former dictator Moammar Ghadafi was ousted, and Kabir remains, renting equipment to tourists, even as things around him change. NPR's Leila Fadel sends this postcard from Tripoli.

No one is safe in Libya these days. Judges, activists, human rights defenders and former officers in Moammar's Gadhafi's army are being silenced with bullets and knives.

There are no formal security forces, weapons remain unsecured and the economy is foundering because rebels seized oil ports in the east.

For all these reasons, a rogue general with a checkered past has found support in large swaths of the country as he vows to fight what he calls terrorist groups.

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And I'm Melissa Block. Now, sobering news out of Libya - a prominent rights activist was shot and stabbed to death in her home last night. Salwa Bugaighis was a lawyer from Benghazi who had opposed former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Today, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice issued a statement lauding her courage and leadership. NPR's Leila Fadel had visited Bugaighis just recently, and has this report.

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It's a case that's drawn international condemnation. Today, an Egyptian court sentenced two journalists to seven years in jail, and a third to 10 years. They all work for the Al Jazeera English news network and were convicted of being or aiding terrorists and tarnishing Egypt's image. No evidence of their alleged crimes were present - was presented in court. NPR's Leila Fadel has more.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Arabic spoken).

Two journalists in Cairo got seven years in prison and third received 10 years. Egypt's government accused them of helping the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

As they steamrolled across northern Iraq, Sunni militants had important help from an old power in the country — former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and his army.

One retired air force colonel said he is a member of a newly formed military council overseeing Mosul, the large city captured last week by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and its allies from Sunni Arab armed factions.

Islamist Sunni militants reportedly control most of Iraq's largest oil refinery, as they vow to push on to Baghdad. Meanwhile, there is a growing call for Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to step down.

About 20 miles outside the embattled northern Iraqi city of Mosul lies the Christian village of Al-Qosh. It's taken in about 2,000 residents from Mosul who fled after the militant Islamist group ISIS captured that city.

In recent days, news coverage from Iraq has focused largely on the Sunni-Shiite divide in that country. But Iraq is also home to a Christian community, which traces its origins in the earliest days of Christianity.

At a checkpoint to enter the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, families wait for their cars to be searched and for permission to enter. Inside this region, they believe they will be safe.

But these people who flee to Kurdish cities have the money to stay in hotels or rented apartments or have family to shelter them.

The less fortunate stay behind in a small camp near the checkpoint. It's one of four the Kurdish Regional Government is setting up.

People in northern Iraq are getting their first taste of life under ISIS — the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that captured the large Iraqi city of Mosul last week with shocking speed.

The Sunni extremist group holds much of the mainly Sunni areas of northern and western Iraq.

Over the weekend it launched a bloody takeover of Tal Afar, an ethnically and religiously mixed Iraqi city near the Syrian border.

A Sunni militant group has captured swaths of Iraq including Mosul and the province surrounding it. Late Sunday, there were reports that the group had also seized Tal Afar.

Egypt's chief prosecutor has ordered three men arrested in connection with the assaults in Tahrir Square over the weekend to be put on trial immediately. Graphic video has been made public.

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