Category: Press Releases
Created on Saturday, 17 December 2016 09:36
Members of the Voice of the Copts community offer sincere condolences to the Coptic families mourning today for the loss of loved ones as a result of Sunday’s (Dec 11) bombing of the Botrossia Church in Cairo that killed at least 25 people attending mass.
We grieve with our brothers and sisters and pray that those responsible for this heinous, cowardly crime will be arrested and made to stand trial. Once again, Christian Copts are made the scapegoat in an ongoing struggle between Egypt’s government and Islamic religious leaders.
A state funeral with three days of national mourning declared by the regime is appropriate. However, acts of terror and religious jihad continue to grow unchecked.
Our hearts grieve with you today as we pray for the end of your tribulations and the beginning of peace in our beloved homeland.
The presence of President Al Sisi in attendance of the victims’ funerals does not impress us anymore knowing that his compassion has not yet led him to implement the effective steps to remove Christian Copts from the crosshairs of Islamic supremacy.
We urge Egypt’s government to secure the Coptic community and every community of Egypt by ensuring that justice takes place through full investigations, arrests and trials in order to deter future acts of terror.
In addition to the current attack on the Botrossia Church days ago on December 11, we demand a full investigation into earlier terrorist crimes for which no suspects have yet been arrested:
- The burning and bombing destruction of 87 Coptic Christian churches in a 45-day rampage in June and July of 2013
- The murder of 23 peaceful Christian protesters demonstrating in Maspero (Cairo) against violence in October, 2011
- The Two Saints Church bombing and killing of 87 Christians on New Year’s Eve, 2010
- The forced displacement of innocent Copts due to local government use of the Bedouin tribal arbitration system applied to Copts after unprovoked attacks upon their homes and community
Moreover, no one truly believes that rhetoric will stop terror against Christians in Egypt. The following reforms must be made:
- Remove religious teachings and examples from public school course work and textbooks.
- Remove religion courses from public schools.
- Transfer all non-religious schools to the public domain and permanently remove them from the auspices of Al Azhar Institute.
- Stop public taxpayer money from financing and supporting religious institutions.
- Reinstate the Egyptian Constitution of 1923 in totality to replace the current constitution which allows Islamic Sharia religious law to dominate the nation.
Voice of the Copts
Founder and president
Created on Thursday, 20 August 2015 07:00
A large bomb exploded early Thursday morning (local time) near a national security building in the Shubra neighborhood of Cairo, Egyptian security officials said, according to The Associated Press (AP).
At least six people were wounded early in the attack, which was caused by a car bomb, security sources told the Reuters news agency.
The sources, who inspected the site of the blast in, said there was a burned-out vehicle and crater.
Comments on Twitter indicated the blast was heard in several parts of the Egyptian capital.
Egypt has been dealing with a jihadist insurgency in recent years and, while the majority of the attacks have taken place in the restive Sinai Peninsula, other parts of Egypt have been hit as well.
Most of the attacks have been claimed by the Sinai Province, which is affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS).
The attack in Cairo came several days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi approved an anti-terrorism law
that sets up special courts and provides protections to its enforcers.
The Cabinet approved the draft law last month, two days after a car bomb in an upscale Cairo neighborhood killed the country's prosecutor general
, Hisham Barakat. On the day it was approved, jihadists launched a multi-pronged attack attempting to seize a northern Sinai town.
Created on Thursday, 13 August 2015 20:46
The Sinai branch of Islamic State (ISIS), Sinai Province, announced on Wednesday that it has executed Croatian citizen Tomislav Salopek
, who it captured on July 22 in Cairo.
This marks the first execution of a Western hostage by Sinai Province, with the ruthless murder taking place in the Sinai Peninsula.
Sinai Province last Wednesday published a video in which it threatened to murder the 30-year-old the father of two within 48 hours if Egypt did not release "Muslim women" prisoners, but that deadline came and went.
In the film, Salopek read from a script and noted he was working as a topographer for a French company named Compagnie Générale de Géophysique in Cairo when he was captured.
He was reportedly abducted by armed terrorists while driving to work in a company car in Cairo, on a road that was not deemed dangerous.
Sinai Province previously went by the name Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, before pledging allegiance to ISIS earlier this year and being accepted as an official branch of the Islamist terror group.
The group has already conducted several executions, including against an Arab "Israeli spy"
forced to dig his own grave, but this is the first time a Western captive has been executed by the group.
Just last month Sinai Province attacked the Italian consulate in Cairo
, marking its first strike on a Western target in the country.
Created on Sunday, 12 July 2015 11:03
Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists claimed responsibility for a lethal car bomb attack on the Italian consulate in central Cairo on Saturday, in an explosion that killed one Egyptian and left ten others wounded according to a health ministry spokesperson.
The blast nearly completely destroyed the main entrance to the consulate, shattering windows and flooding the building by causing water pipes to burst. It was possible to hear the blast from various neighborhoods around the capital city.
According to the state news agency MENA, two policemen were among the ten wounded.
In a message online, ISIS wrote, "through God's blessing, Islamic State soldiers were able to detonate a parked car bomb carrying 450 kg of explosive material on the headquarters of the Italian consulate in central Cairo."
"We recommend that Muslims stay clear of these security dens because they are legitimate targets for the mujahideen's (jihadists') strikes," it added, warning of future attacks on sites like the consulate.
ISIS has targeted Egyptian soldiers and policemen up until now, with the attack on the Italian consulate constituting the first attack on a Western target.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni reported that no Italian citizens were wounded in the blast, adding, "Italy will not be intimidated."
Egypt has been engaged in a fierce struggle against ISIS forces in Sinai, where the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis recently swore allegiance to ISIS and changed its name to Sinai Province.
The terrorist group has been responsible for several massive lethal attacks, including a multi-pronged assault
earlier this month that left 50 Egyptian soldiers dead.
Created on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 12:02
A court in Egypt on Monday rejected a lawsuit demanding the designation of Israel as a “terrorist state”, The Cairo Post reported.
According to the report, the Abdeen Court of Urgent Matters stated it has no legal authority to consider the suit, which was filed by the Nedal Center for Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF).
The group, which filed the case against the Egyptian President, Foreign Minister and Minister of Defense, asked them to issue a decree labelling Israel a “terrorist state.”
NCHRF cited alleged “human rights violations” committed by Israel, as well as supposed Israeli-led espionage cases in Egypt between 1985 and 2013, according to The Cairo Post.
The case also called for banning the sale of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and Liberation newspaper in Egypt over “blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed.”
Two years ago, the Cairo Administrative Court ruled that it has no jurisdiction
over a lawsuit demanding the cancellation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Under the regime of former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, there were calls to urgently change
the peace treaty with Israel, with an adviser to the Islamist president saying that in its current form, the historic treaty maintains the national security of the “Zionist enemy” more than it helps Egypt's national security.
Current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said before he was elected
that he would be willing to consider making changes to the peace agreement with Israel.
Created on Monday, 06 April 2015 16:45
At least one person was killed Sunday in a bomb explosion on a Cairo bridge, just hours after Egyptian forces gunned down a top Islamist leader in an apartment near the bridge. It is not clear yet if there is a connection between the two incidents.
The bomb that exploded on the bridge to the upscale Zamalek neighborhood killed a man who was identified as a police officer. At least three bystanders, two police officers and one civilian, were injured in the blast. No group has yet taken responsibility for the explosion.
It was the second straight day of bombings in Cairo. On Saturday, two bombs exploded near police stations in a residential district. No one was injured in those explosions, officials said.
On Saturday night, Egyptian forces shot and killed Hamam Mohamed Attia of the Ajnad Misr terror group, one of several Islamist groups that have based themselves in northern Sinai and have caused no end of trouble for Egyptian forces, setting off many bombs and engaging in numerous shooting incidents that have killed hundreds of Egyptian police and soldiers in recent years.
On March 28, Ajnad Misr set off bombs near Cairo University, wounding four police officers and two civilians.
Created on Thursday, 05 March 2015 18:46
Two people were killed and nine wounded, including seven policemen, in a bomb explosion on Monday outside the Egyptian supreme court in Cairo, AFP reported.
Health Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told the news agency that a 22-year-old man "died of injuries sustained in his backbone" in the attack.
Another man, aged 24, who had suffered head injuries and internal bleeding, also died of his wounds, he said.
Abdel Ghaffar said nine people, including seven policemen, were wounded in the attack.
The explosion appeared aimed at a police checkpoint near the court, a hospital official said.
The latest attack came a day after two civilians died in a bombing outside a police station in southern Egypt.
Egypt has been dealing with endless terrorist attacks in recent years, but those attacks have intensified
since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Most of the attacks have taken place in the restive Sinai Peninsula and have been claimed by the jihadist Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
However, Cairo has been hit several times as well. Monday’s blast was the second such attack near the supreme court, after an explosion wounded 12 people in October last year
Monday's explosion came days after a series of bombings in Cairo in which one person was killed.
Five bombs struck within hours, four of them near mobile phone service companies and a police station.
Most of the bombings in the capital have been rudimentary and caused no casualties, but several have killed policemen, including two senior officers who died while trying to defuse bombs outside the presidential palace in June last year.
Created on Monday, 09 February 2015 19:42
At least 22 people were killed on Sunday evening when fans of the Egyptian Zamalek soccer group clashed with Egyptian police before a Premier League game, the Al-Ahram website reported.
Egypt's prosecution said the bodies of the victims were transferred to a Cairo morgue. State news agency MENA said at least 25 were injured.
"They died of suffocation and stampede after being tear-gassed," a medical source at the Ahli Bank Hospital, which received 14 bodies, told Al-Ahram.
Police used tear gas to disperse members of the group of hardcore fans of the team, known as the Ultras White Knights, in front of Cairo's Air Defense Stadium, an army-owned venue, a few hours before Zamalek played.
Ultras White Knights shared photos of alleged bodies of the victims on its official Facebook page, some of which wearing the team's jersey, as well as a full list of their names.
The Egyptian interior ministry said the clashes occurred after Ultras White Knights members tried to attend the game without buying tickets.
"The Zamalek fans tried to get in by force, and we had to prevent them from damaging public property," the ministry said in a statement quoted by Al-Ahram.
The incident is reminiscent of one which took place three years ago, in February of 2012, when more than 70 people were killed and hundreds injured in post-match violence following a game in Port Said between Cairo's Al-Ahly and Al-Masry.
The riots, considered at the time the deadliest in Egypt's sports history, were largely blamed on supporters of Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in early 2011 after a popular uprising.
Created on Thursday, 05 February 2015 07:10
Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious center of learning, has called for the killing and crucifixion of terrorists from the Islamic State group (ISIS), expressing outrage over their murder of a Jordanian pilot.
In a statement after the burning alive of Maaz al-Kassasbeh, the Cairo-based authority called for the "killing, crucifixion and chopping of the limbs of Islamic State terrorists".
The use of crucifixion is recorded in Islamic scriptures, and has been employed by ISIS themselves to display the bodies of people executed for a variety of crimes in areas under its control.
The statement comes a month after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivered a highly unusual and surprising speech
to Islamic clerics at Al-Azhar University last week, in which he called on Muslim leaders to reform Islam to rid the Muslim world of terrorism.
"It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma (multinational community of Muslim believers) to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world," Sisi said.
"That thinking – I am not saying ‘religion’ but ‘thinking’ – that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!
"Is it possible that 1.6 billion [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants – that is 7 billion – so that they themselves may live? Impossible!"
Other Muslim countries have also responded to the pilot's murder with condemnation.
Saudi Arabia, the spiritual home of Islam and another member of the US-led coalition against ISIS, condemned the "misguided ideology" behind Kassasbeh's killing and accused groups like ISIS of seeking "to distort the values of Islam". Despite it's clear stance against ISIS, however, Saudi Arabia has faced criticism for its ties to other jihadi groups in Syria and elsewhere.
Iran also condemned the "inhuman and un-Islamic act" - a rather ironic statement considering that Tehran is a key supporter of the Assad regime, which rights groups say is in fact responsible for more atrocities than ISIS
. Iran also finances and trains a range of Shai Islamist militias, who have been accused of brutally expelling Sunni Muslims from areas captured from ISIS control.
The UAE - which a report Wednesday claimed had fearfully withdrawn
from the coalition shortly after al-Kassasbeh's capture - said the actions of IS "represent epidemics that must be eradicated by civilized societies without delay".
Created on Sunday, 25 January 2015 18:37
At least 15 people are dead in Cairo, according to Reuters, following clashes Sunday between police and Islamist protesters, marking the fourth anniversary of the uprising that ousted then-President Hosni Mubarak.
The AP said 13 more people were injured in clashes in the Matariyah area of the capital.
Al-Ahram reported that police shot dead an armed pro-Muslim Brotherhood protester in the coastal governorate of Alexandria.
The man had been shooting randomly with a automatic rifle at people while marching with a number of pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Alexandria's Al-Awayed district, according to an interior ministry statement.
Police reportedly arrested another man with an automatic rifle, also in the march, along with two men who held firebombs.
On Friday, 17-year-old pro-Brotherhood protester Sondos Reda Abo Bakr was shot dead with birdshot, in clashes between police and protesters.
On Saturday, Shaimaa El-Sabagh, 33, who took part in a small-scale march organized by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party to commemorate the uprising, was shot dead with birdshot near Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo on Saturday. Police denied gunning her down.
Egypt called off official celebrations of the anniversary of the January uprising this year, as it mourns the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.
Created on Sunday, 25 January 2015 08:49
Syria's opposition factions called Saturday for "radical democratic change" in the war-torn country ahead of April talks aimed at unifying their plan for a political solution to the conflict, AFP reports.
In a two-day conference held in Cairo, the regime-tolerated opposition met with members of the exiled National Coalition and agreed on a 10-point vision, as well as announcing fresh talks slated for April.
The groups agreed that "any negotiation process should lead to... a democratic regime and a sovereign civil state," according to a joint statement.
They added that any political solution to Syria's four-year civil war "must guarantee a radical democratic change that criminalizes violence and sectarianism".
The National Coalition was informally represented in Cairo by several members, including Ahmed Jarba, a former coalition chief who is close to Saudi Arabia.
A Coalition source had earlier said its members were not attending the Cairo meet in an official capacity.
The next opposition general conference "aims at agreeing on a unified political vision and to unify the opposition's efforts," said Saleh al-Nebwani, member of the regime-tolerated domestic National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.
The Coalition and top opposition figure Moaz al-Khatib previously announced they will not attend talks with the Syrian regime in Moscow this month aimed at finding a political solution to the war that has killed more than 200,000 people so far.
But the internal opposition said on Saturday that some invited members were expected to attend the meeting.
Fayez Sarah from the National Coalition said the Cairo meeting did not discuss the Moscow talks "because a decision was already taken" on this issue.
Moscow's effort to host the peace talks comes after two UN-brokered meetings in Geneva last year between regime and opposition representatives failed to produce results.
Russia is the most powerful backer of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Created on Saturday, 23 August 2014 12:52
A video has surfaced of a new terrorist group in Cairo that has threatened to carry out terrorist attacks in Egypt.
The group, which calls itself the "Helwan Brigades", released a video in which its members are seen holding weapons and saying, "Our message to [the Interior Ministry] is that you are our targets."
The clip was posted on the internet on August 16 and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“We are fed up with the peacefulness of the Muslim Brotherhood. We are no Muslim Brotherhood. We are fed up with their peaceful demonstrations. When we go on demonstrations, blood is shed, women are raped, and property is stolen,” said one member of the group.
“This is a warning to the Interior Ministry in south Cairo. This is what we have throughout south Cairo. Our message to you is that you are our targets because of what you have done to us. You did not spare us. You did not care that we are your brothers. You have shed blood, raped women, and even got the women of Muslims pregnant,” he threatened.
“None of you opposed this or was held accountable, because you support a coup. Your army is the Camp David army, which for 60 years [fought] the Muslims, but did not shoot a single bullet at the Jews,” he charged.
Egypt has been plagued by unrest and terrorist attacks for several years, and there has been an increase in attacks since the ouster last year of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.
Most of the terrorist attacks have been claimed by the Al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Among the attacks claimed by the group was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general
, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing
on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai.
The group has also claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks
that targeted the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
Egypt’s government has said there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and on this basis blacklisted the Brotherhood
as a terror organization.
Created on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 05:41
Three people were killed in Cairo on Friday as supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi held scattered protests for a second straight day, according to AFP.
Clashes erupted at one protest between Morsi supporters and local residents. Two people were killed in the fighting and four police were wounded as they tried to disperse the crowd in the Giza district, according to security officials.
At another protest in Giza, demonstrators fired birdshot, set off fireworks and tried to block a road. One protester was killed when police moved in to disperse the group, a statement from the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police said, adding that the man was armed.
In a third incident, protesters torched a public bus in a Cairo suburb after forcing the driver and passengers out. Police arrested at least 14 protesters at the events, the security officials told AFP.
The violence came one day after the anniversary of the forceful dispersal of pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed. Clashes at small, scattered demonstrations on Thursday left four people dead, the Health Ministry said.
Morsi supporters have held regular demonstrations since the military overthrew him last summer amid massive protests against his year in power. Their numbers, however, have dwindled in the face of a massive crackdown that has seen hundreds of protesters killed in street clashes and tens of thousands detained
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement was listed as a terrorist group
after his overthrow last July 3 and many of its leaders, including Morsi himself, have been jailed.
Created on Sunday, 18 May 2014 10:50
A bomb wounded at least three people at a Cairo election rally for presidential frontrunner Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday, security sources said, according to Reuters
A man riding on a motorcycle threw the homemade device in the direction of Sisi supporters at the street gathering of about 150 people in a north-eastern district of the capital, the sources said.
Former army chief Sisi, who was not present, is expected to win the election on May 26-27, after gaining the support of many Egyptians who backed his ouster of former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Sisi has avoided public appearances during his election campaign, apparently for security reasons, noted Reuters.
In an interview two weeks ago, Sisi revealed
that there had been two attempts on his life.
While he did not say when the assassination attempts took place, he did say that he was “not afraid.”
Saturday’s bombing is the latest in countless attacks that have plagued Egypt since Morsi’s ouster last July.
Many of the attacks were claimed by the Al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, 200 members of which were charged
last week with carrying out over 50 terrorist attacks.
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army
as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.
Egypt’s interim government says there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and on this basis blacklisted the Brotherhood
as a terror organization.
Created on Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:42
A home-made bomb exploded in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing security sources and the website of the local Al-Ahram newspaper.
Security sources said the explosion targeted a police car parked near the embassy, rather than the embassy itself. No one was hurt in the explosion, according to the report.
In 2011, in the chaos that ensued in Egypt after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, the Israeli embassy came under attack
by an angry mob who tore down the barrier around the embassy and broke in, proceeding to light parts of the embassy on fire and throw documents out the windows.
Egyptian commandos rescued several security guards
who were trapped inside at the last minute, after intervention by President Barack Obama. The building has not been used by the Israeli embassy since that incident.
Morsi’s ouster and his replacement with a military-backed regime appeared to calm the tension between the countries. In October, the Israeli foreign ministry named Middle East specialist Haim Koren
as the Jewish state's next ambassador to Egypt.
Created on Saturday, 08 February 2014 10:47
A Cairo court is to hold a “secret session” in the retrial of former President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons Alaa and Gamal, and his former top aides on Saturday.
Mubarak is in court for alleged incitement to kill protesters, and is to also stand trial this month on embezzlement charges, along with former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and fugitive businessman Hussein Salem.
The court is to hear witness testimonies related to charges of incitement to murder and selling gas to Israel at artificially low prices.
Mubarak, 85, has remained in a military hospital in Cairo since he was freed from prison in August after the maximum pre-trial detention period expired.
He had been convicted of involvement in the murder of protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled him, but a court ordered a retrial last year on technical grounds.
The latest charges brought against Mubarak and his two sons involve their alleged embezzlement of 125 million Egyptian pounds ($18m) earmarked for presidential palaces.
Alaa and Gamal are already on trial with their father in the murder and corruption case, along with seven of Mubarak’s former security commanders.
Public attention has largely shifted away from Mubarak’s case, with his successor Mohammad Mursi also on trial on similar murder charges.
Mursi, elected in June 2012, was overthrown by the military almost a year later following mass protests demanding the Islamist’s resignation.
Since then Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, long opposed to Mubarak, has been accused of some of the worst violence during the 18-day uprising in early 2011 that overthrew Mubarak.
Created on Friday, 31 January 2014 09:49
Two roadside bombs exploded near a passing patrol car in a Cairo suburb on Friday, slightly wounding one policeman, Agence France-Presse reported the Egyptian interior ministry as saying in a statement.
The attack came as Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohammed Mursi called for protests after the weekly Friday prayers.
An al-Qaeda-inspired militant group in Egypt also said it was behind this week’s assassination of a senior police officer in Cairo and a pipeline explosion in the volatile Sinai Peninsula.
In two separate statements posted late Thursday, the group says it assassinated Maj. Gen. Mohammed el-Said to punish Egypt’s military leaders.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Champions of Jerusalem, also said it hit the pipeline Monday night south of the Sinai city of el-Arish as part of its war against the “Egyptian regime’s economy.”
The authenticity of the statements could not be independently verified but they were posted on websites commonly used by militants.
Egypt is facing a wave of bombings and shooting attacks by Islamic militants based in Sinai. The government has blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, saying it orchestrated the attacks.
Cairo has also been rocked by several bombings and shootings targeting police over the past week.
On January 24, a day before the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, a car bombing hit police headquarters, one of four bombs targeting the force in the capital.
Six policemen were killed that day.
Four days later, police general Mohamed Saeed, an aide to the interior minister, was killed outside his home by gunmen on a motorbike.
Supporters of Mursi, who was ousted by the army on July 3, have called for protests on Friday.
The military-installed authorities have launched a deadly crackdown on Mursi’s supporters, mostly Islamists, since his removal.
Rights group Amnesty International says that at least 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown.
Created on Friday, 24 January 2014 10:29
The Egyptian capital of Cairo has been shaken by a massive explosion. The blast, originating from a car bomb detonated right next to the city's police headquarters, was powerful enough to destroy much of the structure of the building.
Egypt's health ministry reports at least 4 killed and 51 injured. The blast also damaged the nearby Islamic Museum and National Library.
The bombing, which took place at 6:30 a.m., left the center of Cairo enveloped in smoke, reports Al Arabiya. Gunshots were also reported to have been heard in nearby buildings following the explosion.
A second explosion was later reported in Cairo's Dokki district, targeting a subway station.
The bombings come a day before the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak
. On Thursday, 5 policemen were shot dead by masked gunmen on motorcycles.
The attacks also come on the heels of a constitutional referendum
that passed overwhelmingly last Thursday, which promised a "democratic transition" by the interim military government, and which was boycotted by ousted President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood
Created on Thursday, 26 December 2013 09:15
One person has been killed and at least four people have been injured after a bomb was thrown at a bus in outside the Azhar University in Cairo Thursday morning.
The site of the explosion has been cordoned off and is being investigated by police, according to Egyptian media reports.
The apparent terrorist attack comes just one day after the interim Egyptian government blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization
, following a deadly attack
on a security installation on Tuesday.
That attack was claimed by a Salafi group
, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, but Egyptian interim authorities have longed accused the Muslim Brotherhood of playing an active role in fomenting deadly violence in response to the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi - charges the Brotherhood denies.
Thursday's attack is likely to inflame tensions further, as Muslim Brotherhood members vow to continue their demonstrations in protest of Morsi's ouster.
Created on Sunday, 15 December 2013 08:12
On December 21, Arab foreign ministers are slated to meet in Cairo to discuss the faltering peace talks between Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA), according to a statement released by the Arab League on Thursday.
The announcement comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Israel yet again on Wednesday to try and push talks forward. Analysts have warned that Kerry's security arrangement proposals, which have been rejected by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, follow the 1967 "Allon Plan" and are a "death-trap" for Israel.
Arab League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli told AFP that the meeting of Arab foreign ministers had been called by Abbas, who may brief ministers on the talks' status at the meeting.
Talks have been rocky at best, as in November Abbas threatened to cancel talks unless Israel cancelled tenders on 20,000 new homes in Judea and Samaria, effectively calling for a de facto building freeze even while none has been officially set as a precondition. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly conceded to the pressure, urging the plans to be shelved.
On Monday, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official, said Kerry's efforts and proposals are leading "to an impasse and to total failure." Rabbo added that Kerry "is treating our issues with a high degree of indifference," provoking a "real crisis."
However Kerry refused to accept the Palestinian position, saying on Wednesday "President Obama and I reject that cynicism."
Israelis do not appear to share Kerry's optimism. A poll last week revealed that 87.5% of Israelis believe the current peace talks will not lead to peace.
Meanwhile Nabil Shaath, another senior PLO official, said in late November that the PA was only remaining in negotiations to release the remaining 52 terrorist prisoners out of 104 that were designated to be released as part of a "gesture" to encourage talks.
Category: Press Releases
Created on Sunday, 01 December 2013 17:25
Scores of protesters gathered on Saturday in front of Qatar’s Cairo embassy on Saturday, calling for the cutting of diplomatic ties with the Gulf state.
The demonstators chanted anti-Qatar slogans in protest over what they called Doha’s support to the Muslim Brotherhood and its hostile stance over the ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi.
During the protest - which had been approved by the Interior ministry - demonstrators burned and shredded Qatar’s flag, and held up photos of Egypt’s army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Egyptian media quoted sources saying that the protesters got the license to gather for three hours, confirming that security forces had a heavy presence around the embassy.
This is not the first time Egyptians who support the interim pro-military government have demonstrated against the Gulf state.
In April, protesters gathered in front of the Qatari embassy, expressing disdain over what they saw as Doha’s meddling in Egyptian affairs.
Cairo’s relationship with Qatar deteriorated after the army deposed Mursi in July.
Doha had been a firm ally of Mursi’s government and lent Egypt $7.5 billion during his one-year presidency.
In September, Egypt returned $2 billion that Qatar had deposited with its central bank, after talks to convert the funds into three-year bonds broke down.
Created on Monday, 18 November 2013 11:34
Unknown gunmen shot and killed a senior national security officer in Cairo late Sunday as he headed to his office, reports The Associated Press.
A statement from the Egyptian Interior Ministry said that gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Lt. Col. Mohammed Mabrouk of the national security agency, killing him on the spot near his home in the eastern Cairo suburb of Nasr City.
Mabrouk reportedly worked in the agency's branch in charge of monitoring Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
He is one of the most senior security officers to be targeted and killed in Cairo in the violence that has gripped Egypt since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July.
A security official quoted by AP said Mabrouk was hit by seven bullets in his chest and head fired by gunmen whom witnesses described as masked.
The incident comes just three days after the government lifted a state of emergency that was declared on August 14, the day the army - which had installed an interim government - dispersed two Islamist protest camps, killing hundreds of protesters.
In September, Egypt extended it by two months, raising the ire of the United States, which urged Egypt to lift the state of emergency and pressed it "to create an atmosphere where Egyptians on all sides can peacefully exercise their right to freedom of assembly and expression."
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been hit by a spiral of violence. Suspected Islamist supporters of Morsi have torched dozens of churches and police stations in retaliation.
The country’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, survived an assassination attempt by a suicide car bomber several months ago.
The Sinai Peninsula has been of particular concern, since it has become increasingly lawless since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the terror attacks have only increased since Morsi’s removal.
The Egyptian armed forces have launched large scale military operations against terrorists in Sinai in an attempt to suppress the insurgency.
Created on Sunday, 03 November 2013 20:05
The freezing of aid to Egypt by the United States is not meant as a “punishment” by Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Cairo Sunday.
At a joint press conference with Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Kerry said that the two countries enjoyed good relations regardless of issues of monetary assistance.
The United States last month cut off military aid to Egypt, in the wake of the new government's deposing of former President Mohammed Morsi, and the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Kerry's visit this week is the first by an American official to Cairo since the deposing of Morsi. The U.S. provides $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt.
American officials were quoted as saying that the United States will withhold delivery of certain large-scale military systems, as well as cash assistance to the Egyptian government, until "credible progress" is made toward an inclusive government set up through free and fair elections.
Speaking Sunday, Kerry said that he realized that Egypt faced “difficult challenges,” but urged Cairo to continue its “march to democracy.” He told officials that peace was important for everyone, in the region and in the country, and urged Egyptians to “think about what benefits peace would bring everyone.”
Kerry's visit to Egypt was not announced in advance, apparently to stem the possibility of major protests the White House expected would evolve over the aid cutoff.
Kerry's visit came exactly one day before Morsi and 14 of his top Muslim Brotherhood aides went on trial for incitement to violence. The trial comes after major protests by Muslim Brotherhood members against the new government, headed by military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Created on Thursday, 31 October 2013 10:50
Egyptian police entered the Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Wednesday to confront Islamist protesters, AFP reported. It was the first time security forces have moved on a campus since a 2010 court ruling.
The police took the action at the prestigious Islamic university following a request from its administration, the interior ministry said.
Students supporting deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi have held regular and sometimes violent protests since the beginning of the school year in September.
According to the official MENA news agency, the protesting students had stormed the university's offices on Wednesday, ransacking them and firing birdshot.
Police entered "the Al-Azhar University campus following a request from the university's head Dr. Osama al-Abd to defend lives and public property," said the interior ministry, according to AFP.
The police had obtained permission from the state prosecutor before doing so, it added in a statement.
A police general told AFP it was the first time police had entered a university since a 2010 court ruling banned guards belonging to the interior ministry from operating on their grounds.
Pressed by police at every turn, Islamists have adopted universities as protest hubs to galvanize their flagging movement four months after the military overthrew Morsi.
Several weeks ago, hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood chanted “Down with the military government” outside Cairo University, after they were urged by the group to hold protests.
Egypt has witnessed protests and clashes that have left scores dead since Morsi’s ouster on July 3.
The worst violence was in August, when police forcibly dispersed two protest camps set up by Morsi supporters.
Since August, Egypt's authorities have rounded up dozens of senior leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, including the movement’s Supreme Guide.
On October 6, security forces clashed with pro-Morsi crowds in Cairo as they tried to reach the capital's Tahrir Square where supporters of the military were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War with Israel, known in Egypt as the October War.
On Wednesday, Essam el-Erian, one of the most senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders still at large, was arrested in Cairo.
El-Erian is the vice chairman of the Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. Egypt's interior ministry commented that a warrant had been issued against el-Erian by the state's general prosecutor, accusing him of "inciting violence" and "aiding criminal acts."
Created on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 15:45
Hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood chanted “Down with the military government” outside Cairo University on Tuesday, Reuters reports.
Supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi had urged university students to protest against the army following the violence on Sunday, one of Egypt's bloodiest days since the military ousted the Islamist leader on July 3.
The death toll from Sunday's unrest rose to 57, state media said, with 391 people wounded. Sunday’s clashes took place as Morsi supporters protested in several cities as thousands took to the streets on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel.
“We are here standing against the coup,” said a 19-year-old student who took place in Tuesday’s march near Cairo University, where security forces had parked two tanks and blocked the main road with barbed wire.
“I'm against Morsi but I'm not for people killing others and I'm not for the military government we have now,” said the student.
Small protests also occurred at Helwan University in southern Cairo, witnesses told Reuters. At Zagazig University, northeast of Cairo, pro-Brotherhood students clashed with residents and Brotherhood opponents with fists, sticks and stones, security sources said. Eight people were wounded.
Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 2,000 arrested in a police crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement since August 14, when police forcibly dispersed two protest camps that were set up in Cairo.
Since August, Egypt's authorities have rounded up dozens of senior leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, including the movement’s Supreme Guide, leaving the group unable to rally huge crowds to protest for Morsi's reinstatement.
Last month, a court banned the Brotherhood and froze its assets, pushing the group, which had dominated elections since Hosni Mubarak's fall in 2011, further into the cold. A court is due to hear an appeal of that decision on October 22.
Created on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 17:14
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood appealed on Monday a court verdict ordering the seizing of the group’s funds by the interim government, Egyptian news source Ahram Online reported.
The lawsuit, which was filed by the group’s legal representative Othman El-Khateeb with the administrative court, also challenges the establishment of a panel to administer its frozen assets until an appeal has been heard on the ruling.
The verdict, issued on September 23rd by a Cairo court for urgent matters, banned the Muslim Brotherhood and its NGO, leaving the Islamist group with no legal status.
The Brotherhood has existed outside of Egyptian law for decades and was only officially registered as an NGO in March 2013.
The group has criticized the verdict, saying it was issued by “an incompetent court,” and should have been dealt with by the administrative court.
The official appeal is against both Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi and Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed El-Borai.
On September 24th, El-Borai said the interim government postponed dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood until all litigation measures against members of the group are finalized.
Egyptian authorities launched a crackdown against the Brotherhood following the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi - who hails from the group - this past July.
The group's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater, and senior member Mohamed El-Beltagy are among hundreds of Brotherhood members and leaders who have been detained and face charges including incitement of violence against their opponents.
Egyptian prosecutors froze the assets of several senior Brotherhood leaders and other prominent Islamists in July as part of ongoing investigations into charges of incitement of violence at protests.
On Sunday, 51 protesters died and more than 246 people were wounded during the day as Egyptian security forces clashed with supporters of ousted former President Mohammed Morsi.
Egypt’s Interim President Adly Mansour has also called on Egyptians to take to the streets. In a televised speech on Saturday he said that authorities will “defeat much-hated terrorism and blind violence with the rule of law that will protect the freedom of citizens and resources.”
Created on Sunday, 06 October 2013 15:43
At least 34 people have been killed and scores more injured Sunday in Egypt as pro-Mohammed Morsi protesters took to the streets on the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel - known as the "Yom Kippur War" by Israelis, and the "October War" by Arabs.
There were rival protests Sunday throughout Egypt. On the one hand, there were demonstrations by Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other members of the Anti-Coup Alliance - a coalition that opposes the way the Brotherhood's political leader Morsi was deposed. On the other hand, there were government-organized demonstrations to commmemorate the 1973 war.
Al Jazeera quoted Khaled Al Khatib, a Health Ministry official, who confirmed the number of deaths. Seven of those were killed in Ramses Square in Cairo, while another 85 people were injured in clashes throughout the country. Another man was reportedly shot to death in Delga, south of Cairo.
Egypt's Interior Ministry announced that 300 protesters were arrested thoughout the day.
Police reportedly fired tear gas and shots “into the air” to disperse crowds opposed to the military-backed government, who were trying to make their way to Tahrir Square. Inside the square, thousands of pro-military Egyptians were gathered to mark the anniversary of the war, which is hailed as a victory by Egyptians despite the ultimate military failure of the Arab alliance to achieve its military objectives.
Anti-Coup Alliance called on “all Egyptians” to stream to Tahrir Square in a message on Saturday, in a continuation of anti-government protests launched since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July.
But Interim President Adly Mansour took advantage of nationalist sentiment to mobilise its own demonstrations in commemoration of the Yom Kippur War's anniversary.
In a televised speech on Saturday, Mansour said that authorities will “defeat much-hated terrorism and blind violence with the rule of law that will protect the freedom of citizens and resources.”
Created on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 19:14
Anti-military protesters demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday, for the first time since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was removed from office in July following mass protests against his leadership.
Al Jazeera reported that around 100 protesters gathered in the square, chanting, "Down with military rule!"
Limited skirmishes erupted between the protesters and local residents and street vendors when the march reached the square.
Police arrived at the scene to separate the two parties from each other. No injuries were reported, according to Al Jazeera.
Protests against the military, led by supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, have been held in cities across Egypt since the military seized power on July 3.
Tuesday's demonstration came as Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a quick political transition to restore stability.
Speaking to soldiers and policemen at a seminar, Sisi called on everyone "to be truly aware of the size of the problems facing society, and which necessitate speeding up the end of the transitional phase", the army spokesman's official Facebook page said.
Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 2,000 arrested in a police crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement since August 14, when police forcibly dispersed two protest camps that were set up in Cairo.
Since August, Egypt's authorities have rounded up dozens of senior leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, including the movement’s Supreme Guide, leaving the group unable to rally huge crowds to protest for Morsi's reinstatement.
Created on Thursday, 05 September 2013 20:16
The Egyptian interior minister survived an assassination attempt on Thursday morning, when a remote-controlled bomb targeted his convoy in Cairo’s Nasr city.
The attack killed at least two people and left 10 wounded, security officials said.
The minister, Mohammad Ibrahim, told reporters the attack marked the start of “a new wave of terrorism.”
Ibrahim said: “What happened today is not the end, but the beginning.”
The minister was among those who oversaw a violent crackdown on supporters of Mohammad Mursi, the Islamist president ousted two months ago by the army, following mass protests against his rule.
Ibrahim said this week that he had been informed of plans to kill him, and that “foreign elements” were involved. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, head of the armed forces, supplied him with an armored car identical to the one he uses, according to the minister.
Al Arabiya’s Cairo correspondent said the explosion took place at around 10 am local time.
Early reports said it was not clear whether the explosion was caused by a suicide car bombing or an explosives-laden car detonated by remote control.
Ibrahim said the “despicable attempt” on his life had destroyed four of his bodyguards’ vehicles. He said one police officer was in critical condition, and that another officer and a small child had lost their legs.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Nasr City is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Mursi hails. It was also the site of a sit-in protest by his supporters that was stormed by police on Aug. 14, in an incident that killed hundreds.
Created on Sunday, 18 August 2013 14:37
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy insisted the interim government had not abandoned the path to democracy amid a deadly crackdown on opponents, in an interview to be published Monday.
Fahmy, a former ambassador to the United States, told German news weekly Der Spiegel that Egypt’s military leaders were unlikely to extend a month-long nationwide state of emergency imposed last week.
“I assure our friends that we are maintaining our roadmap to democracy,” he said.
He said Egyptians “would not accept the country staying under the now-imposed state of emergency in the long run.”
And he said the Muslim Brotherhood backers of ousted Islamist president Mohammad Mursi were welcome to a dialogue on Egypt’s political future “as soon as calm and order have been restored”.
“Those who have not broken the law can take part in the political process,” he said.
Fahmy chided Western allies for their sharp criticism of government force against pro-Mursi demonstrators, which has left hundreds dead.
“I am disappointed that the violence by the other side has not been more clearly recognized and condemned by the West,” he said.
He discouraged direct intervention in the conflict by the United States or the European Union.
“This is an Egyptian problem that we must solve,” he said.
“I trust the military, I am sure that the officers are not fixated on power.”
The death toll in four days of violence topped 750 in Egypt in clashes following massive operations by the army-led government against Mursi supporters.
The bloodshed has shocked the international community, with European Union leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso warning Sunday that the bloc would review its ties with the country unless it ended.
Created on Friday, 16 August 2013 12:16
The official death toll in the clashes that took place between the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday has topped 500, and the actual number could be in the thousands.
The Egyptian Health Ministry said Thursday that 525 people were killed a day earlier, when security forces stormed Islamist protest camps in Cairo after a stand-off that had lasted several weeks. However, the official toll only includes bodies which have passed through hospitals – but many bodies are being processed in makeshift morgues and never reach hospitals.
A BBC reporter said that he saw at least 140 bodies wrapped in shrouds at the Eman mosque, close to the main protest camp at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. The Muslim Brotherhood said 300 bodies had been taken to the mosque. It said more than 2,000 people were killed in the fighting
A month-long state of emergency has been imposed by the interim government, which took power after the army removed Morsi from power on July 3. A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been placed on Cairo and 10 other provinces.
Security forces succeded in clearing out Muslim Brotherhood supporters at Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya, at a heavy cost in lives, and remains of the encampment could be seen going up in flames, as could a military armored vehicle. Mobs later carried out reprisal attacks on government buildings and police stations as well as churches belonging to the country's Coptic Christian minority.
Supporters of Morsi plan to march in Cairo Thursday afternoon “to protest the deaths," a coalition of Morsi's supporters said.
"We will always be non-violent and peaceful. We remain strong, defiant and resolved," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad wrote on his Twitter feed. "We will push (forward) until we bring down this military coup.”
Vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, resigned in protest over the use of force to end the long-running standoff between the security forces and the Islamists.
Created on Thursday, 08 August 2013 18:29
Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour, on Wednesday blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the "failure" of international talks aimed at resolving Egypt's political crisis, Al Jazeera reported.
Mansour warned supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi that the government will not make any concessions to them.
"The train of the future has left the station," he was quoted by Al Jazeera as having said in a televised address on Wednesday night, marking the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
"It's moving forward, and all of us have to catch it."
Earlier, the presidency announced the end of foreign-led efforts to resolve the turmoil, which has been spiraling since the army toppled Morsi on July 3.
In a statement carried on state news agency MENA, it said, "The Egyptian state ... holds the Muslim Brotherhood fully responsible for the failure of those efforts [by foreign envoys] and what may be the consequences of this failure."
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawy warned, meanwhile, that the government's decision to clear the ongoing pro-Morsi protests is "final," and urged demonstrators to leave, saying they had "broken all the limits of peacefulness".
"The government's patience to bear this is nearly expired," he said, adding that any use of weapons against policemen or citizens would "be confronted with utmost force and decisiveness."
Foreign envoys from America, Europe, Africa and several Gulf Arab states have been visiting Egypt in the past month, with little success. The government had allowed the envoys to visit jailed Brotherhood leaders in order to give a peaceful solution a chance.
On Tuesday, two senior U.S. senators on a mediation mission said they considered Morsi’s removal to have been a military coup - causing an uproar in the Egyptian media and drawing a strong riposte from the acting president.
The Republican senators - Lindsey Graham and John McCain - also called on the military to release political prisoners and start a national dialogue to return Egypt to democratic rule.
The interim Egyptian government’s announcement could set the stage for a showdown with pro-Morsi protesters who have been camping out at Rabaa and al-Nahda in Cairo.
Thousands of pro-Morsi protesters have camped out in the capital, demanding the reinstatement of the leader, and rejecting proposals by the interim leadership.
They say that several of their political leaders have been detained illegally, including Morsi himself.
Almost 300 people have been killed in political violence since the overthrow, including 80 Morsi supporters shot dead by security forces in a single incident on July 27.
Meanwhile, the United States on Wednesday urged the Egyptian military and the country’s bitterly divided political factions to resolve their differences through dialogue and agree on a return to democratic rule.
“Over the course of the last several days, envoys of the United States, the EU, the UAE and Qatar provided constructive ideas to the Egyptians in order to help prevent further violence and help advance the transition to a democratically elected civilian government,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, according to AFP.
Psaki told reporters that McCain had not been representing the United States on his visit. Graham and McCain said last week they were being sent by President Barack Obama to Egypt.
“We absolutely do not believe that the time for dialogue has passed. We will continue this conversation, and it certainly remains a priority of ours and obviously a priority of the EU and other officials around the world who’ve been involved,” Psaki said, according to AFP.
Created on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 14:41
Four people were killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on Monday, one in Cairo and three to its north, security and medical sources said.
Two people died in clashes in Qalyub, north of Cairo, and a third was killed when he fell under the wheels of a train as he tried to flee, a security source told the AFP news agency.
A fourth person died in hospital after being hit by gunfire during clashes near Cairo's central Tahrir Square, Mohammed Sultan, deputy head of the emergency services, told AFP.
He added that at least another 26 people were injured in the violence, mostly by birdshot.
Clashes between Morsi’s supporters and opponents have been ongoing since the Egyptian military ousted Morsi earlier this month, after days of protests calling for him to resign.
The protests by Morsi loyalists have resulted in deadly clashes, with the unrest claiming more than 100 lives in all.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour called for reconciliation among Egyptians as following the clashes in Cairo, reported Al Arabiya.
President Mansour said he seeks to open a “new page in the nation’s history” following the June 30 uprising that ousted Morsi.
Last week, Mansour vowed to protect the country from those who “want to drive Egypt to chaos,” in reference to continuous protests by Morsi’s supporters.
The new Egyptian Cabinet was sworn in a week ago, as Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected its legitimacy.
Meanwhile, members of Morsi’s family said on Monday they plan to file a lawsuit against the Egyptian Army, charging officials with kidnapping the former leader.
Morsi has been held incommunicado by military officials since being removed from office on July 3.
According to Egyptian military officials, Morsi is being held at an undisclosed location for his own safety, but even members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been unable to gain access to visit him and assess his current condition, in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Created on Saturday, 20 July 2013 17:06
Three women died and seven other people were wounded in clashes between loyalists and opponents of Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi, medics said Saturday.
AFP news agency cited a hospital official in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura as saying that the women were killed by “birdshot and stabbing attacks during clashes between Mursi supporters and his opponents.”
According to Reuters, at least 99 people have died in violence since Mursi's removal by the army on July 3, more than half of them when troops allegedly fired on Islamist protesters outside a Cairo barracks on July 8.
There were conflicting reports, however, over whether the three killed overnight were all women.
Reuters news agency reported that two women and a 13-year-old boy died in the clashes.
The deaths come despite warnings by the military that it would crackdown on violent protests.
Eight fighter jets screamed over the city in the morning and afternoon, while two formations of helicopters, some trailing the Egyptian flag, hummed over the rooftops, Reuters reported.
Early on Saturday, army helicopters were seen dropping Egyptian flags on thousands of Mursi's opponents gathering in Cairo's central Tahrir Square.
Tensions are running high in Egypt more than two weeks after the army ousted the country’s first freely-elected president following massive protests calling for him to go.
Rival protests were staged in several cities on Friday, with tens of thousands rallying in Cairo to demand the Islamist leader’s return to power.
Waving Egyptian flags, along with portraits of the deposed Mursi, Islamists marched in Cairo, Alexandria and several other cities along the Nile Delta, enouncing what they termed a military coup.
“We are coming out today to restore legitimacy,” said Tarek Yassin, 40, who had travelled to Cairo from the southern city of Sohag, underscoring the Brotherhood’s deep roots in the provinces, according to Reuters.
“We consider what happened secular thuggery. It would never happen in any democratic country,” he said.
Category: Coptic Festival and Traditions
Created on Saturday, 20 July 2013 16:42
Egyptian army has blocked streets leading to the Republican Guard House in Cairo, to stop supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi from reaching the building, Al Arabiya reported Friday.
Egyptian television reported earlier that Morsi supporters were marching to the Republican Guard House. A military spokesman warned them against violence.
The Defense Ministry said it would coordinate with the army to confront violence by protesters, according to Al Arabiya.
The protests began after Friday prayers from 18 mosques across the capital, amid heightened political tensions more than two weeks after Morsi’s overthrow on July 3, AFP reported.
It “will be a famous day, a very important day in the history of the Egyptian revolution,” prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Farid Ismail told AFP.
In one of the deadliest incidents last week, 51 people died and 435 were injured in clashes between the Egyptian army and pro-Morsi protesters at the Republican Guard headquarters.
Following the deadly clashes, the Muslim Brotherhood called for an “uprising” in Egypt.
Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, on Thursday vowed to protect the country from those who “want to drive Egypt to chaos,” in reference to continuous protests by Morsi supporters.
In his first speech to the nation, Mansour said Egypt is going through a decisive stage in its history where some want to drag the country into the “unknown” and cause chaos.
On Tuesday, the new Egyptian Cabinet was sworn in, as Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected its legitimacy.
The cabinet lineup does not include any members from Islamist groups or parties, even from the Salafist Nour party, which supported the military roadmap for transition.
Interim prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi said last week he would offer the Muslim Brotherhood ministerial positions in the transitional government in Egypt, but the Islamist group refused. A spokesman for the movement said, “We don’t recognize its legitimacy or its authority.”
Created on Thursday, 04 July 2013 07:01
Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was officially sworn into office Thursday as the new transitional President of Egypt.
First, however, he was sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
The chief justice, chosen by Egyptian Army General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to replace ousted President Mohamed Morsi, had not yet been sworn in as chief justice.
Minutes before the ceremony, Egyptian air force pilots staged several fly-bys in the skies over Cairo.
Fourteen jets in a V-formation streaked across the skies over downtown Cairo minutes before Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was sworn in as interim president of Egypt.
Nine jets followed, flying at a low altitude and leaving a trail of red, white and black smoke behind them to reflect the colors of the national flag.
In a news briefing following the ceremony, the new president told journalists that Muslim Brotherhood members "part of the people" and welcome to help "build the nation," the web site of the state-run Al Ahram daily newspaper reported.
"The Muslim Brotherhood group is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation, as nobody will be excluded," Mansour said. "If they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed."
Created on Thursday, 04 July 2013 07:01
Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was officially sworn into office Thursday as the new transitional President of Egypt.
First, however, he was sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
The chief justice, chosen by Egyptian Army General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to replace ousted President Mohamed Morsi, had not yet been sworn in as chief justice.
Minutes before the ceremony, Egyptian air force pilots staged several fly-bys in the skies over Cairo.
Fourteen jets in a V-formation streaked across the skies over downtown Cairo minutes before Chief Justice Adly el-Mansour was sworn in as interim president of Egypt.
Nine jets followed, flying at a low altitude and leaving a trail of red, white and black smoke behind them to reflect the colors of the national flag.
In a news briefing following the ceremony, the new president told journalists that Muslim Brotherhood members "part of the people" and welcome to help "build the nation," the web site of the state-run Al Ahram daily newspaper reported.
"The Muslim Brotherhood group is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation, as nobody will be excluded," Mansour said. "If they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed."
Created on Sunday, 30 June 2013 14:50
Egyptians are bracing for what is rapidly developing into another potential revolution, this time against a democratically elected leader, albeit an Islamist backed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sunday is the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Mohammed Morsi.
But by afternoon, Egyptians in Cairo are resigned to seeing their iconic Tahrir Square once again be packed by protesting demonstrators trying to depose the nation’s government. Protest organizers said that some 22 million people have signed a petition calling for Morsi's ouster, but there is no way to independently confirm the claim.
Morsi is blaming his opponents and his predecessor for the unrest, saying they are backed by “thugs” from the days of former President Hosni Mubarak.
U.S. President Barak Obama has called on Egyptians to engage in “dialogue,” with the American Ambassador adding more fuel to the fire by warning Egyptians that protests “don’t help the economy.”
Meanwhile the U.S. has evacuated all non-essential diplomatic personnel and their families. Protection of U.S. missions has been designated a military priority by the White House. The Benghazi debacle last year and the nightmare of prior attacks on Israeli and U.S. missions in Cairo when mob violence has spiraled out of control in the past have figured heavily into the decision.
Israel has also issued its highest travel alerts to its citizens, warning those in the country to leave while they still can, and those who have plans to travel to Egypt for any reason, not to at this time. No Israeli diplomatic personnel are in the country at this time.
The protesters are led by last year’s opposition who failed at the polls: former United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief and Nobel Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.
“We all feel we’re walking on a dead end road and that the country will collapse,” he told reporters in a statement on Saturday, calling for a mass demonstration Sunday afternoon. “All Egypt must go out tomorrow to say we want to return to the ballot box, and build the foundations of the house we will all live in.”
It’s been a long year, scarred by weeks of scattered demonstrations against the new president, with Egyptians complaining that reforms are not moving fast enough, the economy has not improved.
Unemployment is still high, and the quality of life is still abysmal for most. Poverty is wretched in many places for the population, some 80 million strong. Those that believed a new, Islamic administration could magically change those conditions in a heartbeat by toppling former President Hosni Mubarak have been bitterly disappointed. And Islamic violence against the 10 percent minority of Coptic Christians is still alive and well. Egyptians are not happier under Mohammed Morsi.
And now they’re roaring their disapproval.
Riots by thousands in the streets of Egypt last week left hundreds wounded. By Friday two were dead, including Jewish college intern Andrew Pochter, a 21-year-old American bystander who brought his camera to photograph protests in Alexandria.
A bomb killed a protester Friday in Port Said, and in the Sinai Peninsula, a police general was gunned down in an ambush on Saturday.
The Egyptian Army, meanwhile, has said it has deployed its troops to protect key strategic installations, and will step in if the violence gets out of control.
However, military leaders also said they would respect “the will of the people,” as they did when overwhelming numbers made it obvious that former President Hosni Mubarak could no longer remain in power.
It is not clear what that will mean in the week ahead.
Created on Friday, 28 June 2013 16:52
An American citizen was killed in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Friday during clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi, Al-Ahram reported.
A total of two people were killed in the city on Friday, the report said, the second victim being an Egyptian man.
The American man died from a stab wound to the chest, according to Amin Ezz El-Din, head of Alexandria's security directorate.
Ezz El-Din told Al-Ahram that the young American had been taking pictures with his mobile phone near one of the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which President Morsi hails, when he was attacked by unknown assailants.
The victim was rushed to a military hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The man, whose name remains unconfirmed, reportedly worked as a journalistic photographer.
The state-owned news agency MENA reported earlier that 70 people who were injured in the Alexandria clashes were being treated at the hospital.
Al-Ahram reported that the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in the Alexandrian district of Sidi Gabr were set on fire, leading to 40 injuries.
Thousands of Egyptians also gathered in Cairo on Friday, reported Al Arabiya, in two opposing mass rallies, one calling for Morsi’s ouster and another showing support for the embattled Islamist president.
Opponents of Morsi poured into the iconic Tahrir Square, waving flags and chanting “leave.”
Protests against Morsi took place in other parts of Cairo, including the districts of Shubra, Sayeda Zeinab and Mohandesseen, according to Al Arabiya.
Abdullah al-Senawi, a leftist activist and a leader of the opposition National Salvation Front, told Al Arabiya that Morsi has proven to be “untrustworthy,” and should be removed through street action.
Morsi cannot be overthrown through institutional means because he has jeopardized state institutions, Senawi added.
Supporters of the president gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City district, vowing an “open rally” to protect his “legitimacy,” reported the network.
On Wednesday, the army deployed troop reinforcements and armored vehicles near several cities, and has threatened to intervene if violence flares to prevent Egypt from entering a “dark tunnel.”
Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has urged the rival camps to talk and reach a resolution to prevent violence.
On Thursday, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood was shot dead in an attack on the group's office in the Nile Delta town of Zakazik.
The news was carried by the official website of FJP, which blamed an opposition youth group and people loyal to ousted president Hosni Mubarak for the attack.
Morsi’s opponents are planning a huge rally in Tahrir Square on Sunday, June 30, the one year anniversary of Morsi's inauguration. Since then, protesters say, the Egyptian economy has gone from bad to worse. The increasing influence of Islamic fundamentalism inspired by Morsi has done an excellent job of keeping tourists away from Egypt, denying the country one of its most important sources of hard currency.
On Wednesday, ahead of the protests, Morsi gave a speech in which he warned that political polarization in Egypt is threatening the country’s democracy.
He admitted during the speech that he has “erred in some decisions” while being correct in others, the report said.
Speaking to a large crowd of Islamist supporters, Morsi said he has an “obligation” to correct his mistakes, adding he is standing before his audience as a “citizen” while emphasizing Egypt was his responsibility.
Created on Monday, 24 June 2013 19:26
Four Egyptian Shiite Muslims were killed on Sunday when they were attacked by a hostile mob in a village in Giza province near the capital, police said.
A house where the minority Shiites were meeting in Abu Mussalam was surrounded by residents who told them to get out.
When they refused, a crowd of several hundred people stormed the building and killed four Shiites and wounded several others, police said.
Shiites, who form just one percent of Egypt’s population which is primarily Sunni Muslim, are often accused of being under the influence of Shiite-majority Iran.
Recent arrivals in Egypt of small groups of tourists from Iran had to be suspended following protests by hardline Salafists in the Arab world's most populous nation.
Created on Friday, 17 May 2013 14:47
Hundreds of people marched on Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday calling for Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to resign and demanding early elections, AFP correspondents and local media reported.
The demonstration was called by a number of opposition groups, including the Al-Dustur party of former U.N. atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and the April 6 movement which spearheaded the 2011 uprising to oust then President Hosni Mubarak.
Marches originated in various parts of the capital and were to converge on Tahrir Square, which was the focal point of the anti-Mubarak uprising.
At the head of one march people were carrying two large banners, one reading “an early presidential election” and the other “a unifying constitution for Egypt.”
Marchers from the Tamarod (rebellion) campaign, which claims to have garnered more than two million signatures demanding that Mursi resign, collected more names from people along the route.
State media said security had been beefed up around the interior ministry, close to Tahrir Square, as it has been the scene of violent confrontations in the past.
The opposition accuses Mursi of governing only in the interests of his Muslim Brotherhood, while he insists he is the “president of all Egyptians.”
Since Mursi was elected last June, Egypt has continued to suffer from a serious political and economic crisis, and there have often been frequent clashes, sometimes deadly, between his opponents and supporters.
Created on Saturday, 11 May 2013 19:46
Dozens of Islamist protesters gathered at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo after noon prayers on Friday, to denounce the alleged Israeli airstrikes on Syria and the arrest of the Mufti of Jerusalem this week, the website of the Al-Ahram daily reports.
Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed El-Beltagy lead chants of “To Jerusalem we go, millions of martyrs” and “One Islamic Nation.”
“The issue of Jerusalem and Palestine will always be an issue for the whole Arab and Muslim nation,” El-Beltagy said during the protest, according to Al-Ahram.
The protest was sparked by the arrest of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohamed Hussein, by Israeli police on Tuesday. He was questioned and released for suspected involvement in throwing chairs at a group of Jews on the Temple Mount.
In response to the incident, Jordanian MPs unanimously demanded that the government expel Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo. The U.S., meanwhile, called on both sides to exercise restraint.
"The Brotherhood appeals to all Egyptians to take part in ‘Jerusalem Solidarity Friday’ in support of Palestinians and against the latest Israeli aggression at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the unjustifiable arrest of Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti,” read a statement released early Friday by Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Yasser Mehrez.
Protesters also denounced the alleged Israeli attacks on Syrian military sites near Damascus this week.
The Brotherhood’s participation in the protest was mocked by Tharwat El-Kharabawy, a former senior member of the group.
“Please, whoever is in touch with the Muslim Brotherhood, let them know that Al-Aqsa Mosque is in Jerusalem not Al-Azhar,” said El-Kharabawy, who was expelled from the Brotherhood in 2002 and later became a vocal critic of the group, according to Al-Ahram.
Alexandria witnessed a similar protest in front of the iconic Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, the report said. Protesters in the coastal city were critical of the stance of Egyptian authorities towards the situation in Palestine and Syria.
“The silence of the Egyptian regime towards Zionist crimes against Al-Aqsa and Syria is unjustifiable... and reminds us of the old regime,” said Hussein Gomaa, coordinator of the Leftist Youth Movement in Alexandria.
Created on Friday, 19 April 2013 13:40
At least 30 Egyptians were wounded on Friday in clashes between liberal opposition activists and thousands of Islamists rallying outside the Supreme Court in central Cairo demanding “the cleansing of the judiciary,” Al Arabiya TV reported.
Opposition activists fear the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to purge many judges so Islamists can install new ones more supportive of their agenda. A government-penned draft bill has also been under preparation, and a Brotherhood official’s comments fueled fears that as many as a quarter of Egypt’s over 13,000 judges and prosecution officials may be sent into retirement.
As some Islamists moved toward Cairo’s Tahrir Square, they were met by anti-Mursi youth a few blocks from the square, some of them in masks. It was not clear who started the clashes, but it led to both sides pelting each other with stones. One bus was seen set on fire. The sound of birdshot cracked through the air in the clashes, and tear gas was fired - even though there were no police nearby.
Some of the masked youths and some Islamists were seen with homemade pistols. Others wielded iron bars and tree branches and broke up street pavements to throw the chunks of asphalt and concrete. At least 39 people were injured, according to the state news agency MENA.
Al Arabiya TV’s broadcasting equipment was vandalized during the clashes.
An hour after the clashes broke out, three armored police vehicles arrived and began firing tear gas, AFP reported.
The Islamists, who set fire to two buses, were demanding an overhaul of the judiciary, after a court challenged a decision by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to sack the veteran state prosecutor.
“The people demand the cleaning up of the judiciary,” the protesters chanted.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood had called the demonstration outside the Supreme Court, which has repeatedly challenged Mursi since he took office last June.
Last month, a court overturned a controversial decree by Mursi to sack state prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmud, appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak, and replace him with Talaat Abdallah.
The court believed Mursi had overstepped his powers when he sacked Mahmud, blamed for bungling the trials of former regime officials, including Mubarak himself, after the 2011 uprising.
Many judges are Mubarak-era appointees, and Mursi supporters claim they remain hostile to them despite subsequent election victories.
A court also overturned Mursi’s calling of parliamentary polls for this month, ruling that he had ratified a new electoral law without consulting the constitutional court.
Created on Monday, 08 April 2013 08:41
One person was killed on Sunday in clashes at Cairo's Coptic cathedral, after funeral prayers for four Christians during which angry Copts chanted against Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, an official said, according to AFP.
Fighting between Christians and Muslims, meanwhile, erupted anew in a town north of the capital where sectarian violence killed five people on Friday, including the four Coptic Christians, police said.
The bitter clashes underscore the simmering tensions in a divided Egypt that has seen violent confrontations between Morsi's main Islamist allies and a wide-ranging opposition.
They also highlight sectarian tensions that have been brewing for several years.
Egypt's Christians, who make up six to 10 percent of the country's population of 82 million, have regularly complained of discrimination and marginalization.
There have been several attacks, some of them lethal, against Copts in Egypt. Last year, Muslims attacked a Coptic church in a village near Cairo. At least 16 people were wounded in the melee, among them 10 police officers.
In one case, two Coptic Christian children, aged 10 and 9, were arrested for insulting religion, after an imam accused them of tearing up pages of the Koran.
Morsi, in a call to Coptic Pope Tawadros II, late on Sunday condemned the violence.
He ordered "an immediate investigation" into the clashes and condemned the clashes at the cathedral as "an attack on myself", according to a statement published by the official MENA news agency.
He also affirmed that "the protection of all citizens, Muslims and Christians, is the responsibility of the state."
Witnesses to the Cairo clashes said they began when mourners were pelted with stones by residents of the area as they left the cathedral, symbol of the Coptic community.
Black-clad riot police intervened, firing tear gas at the cathedral, witnesses said, but not before one person had been killed.
There were scenes of chaos outside the cathedral in the central Cairo neighborhood of Abbassiya where Coptic bishops had been calling for peace and calm after the killings on Friday.
Loud blasts could be heard, as clouds of smoke rose up into the sky and people ran in several directions, reported AFP.
Rows of Abbassiya residents hurled rocks and bottles at the cathedral and were met in kind from Copts inside the church complex.
The mourners had been planning to carry the bodies of the Christians out of the cathedral to the presidential palace as a protest against the violence, one of them said.
Sunday's service was being held for the four Christians killed in the sectarian clashes two days earlier.
Category: Press Releases
Created on Sunday, 07 April 2013 23:35
On the afternoon of Sunday, April 7, Egyptian police surrounded and protected Saint Mark’s Coptic Cathedral of Cairo, the headquarters of the Coptic Pope, after four hours of attacks on the church by Muslims throwing Molotov cocktails, rocks, and firearms, and where Christians gathered to mourn their dead.
A liturgy was being held for eight murdered Christians resulting from a bloodthirsty rampage by Muslim vigilantes three days earlier on Friday afternoon. Muslims took revenge upon an entire Christian neighborhood in reaction to an incident a few hours earlier where a Christian male defended the life of a Christian girl under assault by a Muslim.
Now inside the church, Bishop Rafael spoke to the Christian body, “… We believe in Heaven’s justice, and the teaching of Jesus Christ reveals to us that the blood of the Martyrs will not be forgotten by God.”
The sequence of these earlier events took place in the streets of Al Khosous just outside Cairo, a town of about three million with a Christian majority, where first an attempt to stop a would-be rapist or kidnapper flared into a fight between the Muslim attacker and a brave Good Samaritan (the Christian man). In a fierce defense of the innocent Coptic girl, knowing that all too often such assaults mean a Christian female will never see her family and home again, the Christian man fatally wounded the Muslim assailant.
Within hours of this horrible incident, revenge stirred in Muslim neighborhoods drummed up by the family of the dead Muslim man. A general state of panic and terror ensued. Groups of Muslims attacked a Baptist Church setting it on fire. Carrying weapons and Molotov Cocktails Muslims destroyed the homes and businesses of Christians and looted the contents.
Both Muslim and Coptic citizens who witnessed the tragic eruption phoned Cairo radio and TV stations desperately appealing to them to broadcast a request for the police to come to the scene of the crime hoping to have law enforcement intervene before the situation degenerated further.
This Muslim reign of terror massacred eight Christian men and one Muslim. After the rampage against Christians had ceased, law enforcement appeared on the scene – customary procedure in Egypt’s recent history. Between a similar incident in Al Kusheh in 2000 and the Maspero one in 2011, every Muslim attack upon Christians occurred under the watchful approval of the Egyptian state police.
Voice of the Copts requests that Europe and the United States attach stated conditions to the taxpayers’ funds promised to the Morsi regime demanding that true evidence must first reveal that Egypt practices equality of human rights and equal justice under the law.
We ask that leaders of the Western church, as participants in interfaith dialogue, request leaders of the Muslim faith to publicly voice their opposition to the mistreatment of Christians and non-Muslims in general in Egypt and elsewhere where Islam is practiced and remains the dominant ideology.
Created on Sunday, 31 March 2013 20:44
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya traveled to Cairo on Saturday to discuss complaints of the terrorist movement regarding Israel's compliance with the truce brokered by Egypt following November’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said Haniya would be discussing "Israeli violations of the truce," the AFP news agency reported.
Last week, Hamas complained to Egypt that Israel was not keeping its end of the bargain after a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip led to Israel suspending part of the truce agreement by cutting access to fishing waters of the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing.
Nunu also said that the Gaza premier would be discussing "the problem of (Palestinian) prisoners (held by Israel) and Hamas-Egypt relations,” according to AFP.
Ties between Hamas and Cairo have been tense after Egyptian forces closed down dozens of smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border.
Haniya will also seek to "clear the air" after Egyptian allegations of Hamas involvement in a deadly attack on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula last year, Hamas sources said.
Reconciliation efforts between Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas are also expected to be on the agenda.
Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in an effort to root out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and bring about an end to the unremitting rocket attacks that have been launched against the Jewish state.
Israel carried out a series of targeted and highly surgical operations in order target the terrorists responsible for the attacks, all the while avoiding civilian casualties at all costs.
Created on Sunday, 17 March 2013 11:02
Clashes between Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood members and oppositional protesters were heated on Saturday night in a southeastern Cairo suburb, with reports of “sticks and iron chains” being used during the attacks.
Witnesses, according to local news site Egypt Independent, reported that the clashes Brotherhood members were provoked by protesters spraying graffiti against the group near its headquarters in the Moqattam suburb.
The Brotherhood members then attacked the protesters using sticks and iron chains, witnesses said.
Security forces attempted to disperse protesters and more of them showed up to protect the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.
The Brotherhood Spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said the opposition protesters insulted his organization “using the most horrid insults, while they infuriated our youth inside the office.” Ghozlan condemned the violence on both ends, Egypt Independent reported.
Other clashes on Saturday night were also reported in the Sohag province, one of Egypt’s poorest southern cities, where President Mohammed Mursi was visiting to unveil a housing project and new education complex.
Thousands of anti-government protesters tried to storm the hall where he was meeting with local officials.
Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters and opponents of Mursi during the clashes.
The state-run Ahram news website said student protests and a boycott by professors forced Mursi to cancel his visit to the university in Sohag, where he was to also inaugurate a medical facility.
Anger against Mursi has been the most vivid in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. Police were forced to hand over security of the Mediterranean city to the military after protesters torched the security headquarters last week. The death toll from the past several weeks of violence there reached 48 on Saturday after a protester died of internal bleeding from a tear gas canister that fractured his skull, according to a medical official.
The unrest has hurt Egypt’s economy and the government’s ability to implement painful austerity measures needed to secure international loans and reign in spending, particularly on massive subsidies for wheat and diesel.
Created on Friday, 15 March 2013 21:52
Hundreds of Egyptians demonstrated in Cairo on Friday to press for the army to assume power in a country plagued by unrest and instability two years after a revolution which toppled president Hosni Mubarak.
According to a report in AFP, the protest was held in eastern Cairo in response to a call by retired army officers and groups opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of President Mohammed Morsi.
"The army must return" to power and "Down with the power of the guide," they chanted, referring to the Brotherhood's spiritual guide Mohamed Badie, as they waved portraits of General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the armed forces chief.
Al-Ahram newspaper's website reported that pro-army demonstrations were also held in Damietta in northern Egypt.
In late January, Sissi warned that Egypt's political crisis could lead to the collapse of the state, something which the military which ruled the country between the fall of Mubarak and last June's election of Morsi would not allow.
Opposition groups and disgruntled Egyptians accuse Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists of monopolising power, and say the revolution failed to reach its goals of social justice.
The gulf between the ruling Islamists and the opposition has been growing wider since November when Morsi issued a decree expanding his powers.
The decree was repealed after intense street pressure, but only after a controversial Islamist-drafted constitution was rushed through.
Earlier this week a legal body representing Morsi filed an appeal against a court ruling cancelling the country’s controversial parliamentary polls.
On March 6, a lower court ordered the cancellation of the April 22 parliamentary elections because Morsi had ratified a new electoral law without sending it to the top court, as required by the constitution.
Created on Sunday, 10 March 2013 17:17
A court verdict over deadly soccer violence sparked fresh unrest in Egypt on Saturday, with two people killed and buildings torched in Cairo, AFP reports.
A Port Said court, sitting in Cairo for security reasons, confirmed death sentences for 21 defendants and handed down life sentences to five people, with 19 receiving lesser jail terms and another 28 exonerated.
Fans of Al-Ahly club, whose members were killed in a February 2012 stadium riot in Port Said in which 74 people died, had warned police they would retaliate if the defendants were exonerated.
AFP reported that one protester was brought to a mosque in Cairo's central Tahrir Square with gunshot wounds, and medics confirmed he was dead.
Earlier, emergency services chief Mohammed Sultan said a protester suffocated after inhaling tear gas, and "died in the ambulance on his way to hospital."
Police fired tear gas and bird shot as the clashes intensified on a large avenue on the banks of the Nile.
Angry crowds hurled rocks at the police and threw a petrol bomb at a luxury five star hotel in the area that houses several embassies, the report said.
Protesters also set ablaze two restaurants near Tahrir Square saying they were owned by Islamist businessmen, witnesses said.
Sporadic clashes have been going on for weeks. The numbers swelled on Saturday when the regular protesters were joined by activists and soccer fans following the verdict.
Protesters also blocked railway tracks between Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, forcing authorities to suspend trains between the two cities, state news agency MENA reported.
Huge flames rose above the main building of the Egyptian Football Association and a police officers' club in an affluent neighborhood on an island in the Nile.
The trial has been a ticking time bomb for President Mohammed Morsi, who is facing a revolt in Port Said, growing nationwide unrest and an unprecedented police strike.
The court handed 15-year sentences to the former head of police security, General Essam Samak, and to Brigadier General Mohammed Saad, who was responsible for the stadium gates, which were locked when the riot broke out.
Seven remaining police defendants were acquitted.
During sentencing, the judge read out a string of names without explaining who they were, leading to much confusion.
"First we were happy when we heard the 21 death sentences. We were cheering and didn't hear the rest of the verdict," one supporter told AFP. "Then we were very angry."
Any verdict in the highly charged trial was likely to trigger angry reactions.
In Port Said, hundreds of people prevented ferries from shuttling residents between the banks of the Suez Canal, in protest at the confirmation of the 21 death sentences.
They set fire to tires and put up a huge banner at the entrance of the port demanding "independence for Port Said."
The Suez Canal Authority, which runs the vital waterway for global commerce, said the canal had been unaffected by the unrest.
Hundreds of grim protesters also marched on the Suez Canal and a port in the city as military helicopters flew overhead and troops stationed tanks outside the port.
In February 2012, clashes in Port Said between fans of home side Al-Masry and Cairo's Al-Ahly left 74 people dead and sparked days of violent protests in the capital, in which another 16 people were killed.
Tension has been running particularly high in an already divided Egypt since January 26, when the court first issued the death sentences in the country's deadliest-ever soccer disaster.
In Port Said, the government has almost completely lost its grip on security, reported AFP. Police on Friday withdrew from their headquarters and handed responsibility for securing it to the military, deployed in the city since late January.
Threats of further unrest have cast uncertainty over government plans to introduce economic reforms that are key to obtaining a crucial $4.8-billion dollar International Monetary Fund loan.
Created on Friday, 01 March 2013 10:58
A dance craze that began in an Australian teenager’s bedroom landed on the doorstep of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Thursday, with dozens of protesters doing the “Harlem Shake” outside the ruling Islamists’ Cairo headquarters.
Around 70 protesters, mostly men, performed the dance after chanting slogans against the Islamists, who had propelled President Mohamed Mursi to his election victory last June.
The chaotic pelvis-thrusting dance has been mimicked across the world after a group of Australian teenagers uploaded a video of themselves dancing the “Harlem Shake” in early February.
Youths in Egypt and Tunisia have taken up the dance as a form of protest against Islamists, two years after uprisings in both countries toppled veteran dictators but brought in divisive Islamist-led governments.
“Down with the supreme guide’s rule,” the protesters chanted after finishing the dance, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious leader Mohammed Badie.
“The message is clear,” said Farid Sayyed, one of the organizers.
“We are against the policies of the Brotherhood. Their guidance bureau (or ruling council) dictates government policy, not the presidency. The revolution continues.”
Several riot police trucks and a fire engine were deployed at the Islamists’ headquarters, which protesters had stormed and attempted to torch in December after Mursi adopted extensive powers he has since repealed.
But Thursday’s protest remained peaceful, with some dancers arriving dressed as Islamists and another wearing a Mickey Mouse mask.
Although it was the first such performance outside the Brotherhood’s headquarters, the dance craze had already arrived in Egypt.
A group of Egyptians posted videos of themselves on YouTube doing the “Harlem Shake” in front of the Giza pyramids, with one of them, wearing white underwear and a bow tie, dancing while riding a camel.
Last week, police said they arrested four students who stripped to their underwear and performed the dance in a quiet middle class Cairo neighborhood, after shocked residents tried to assault the students.
In Tunisia, students and radical Islamists scuffled on Thursday after the students tried to film themselves dancing in the city of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the Arab Spring revolts, with similar scuffles taking place in the capital.
A number of social media sites run by Salafists and other Islamist groups have denounced the “Harlem Shake” as indecent, with participants smoking, dancing wildly and simulating sexual acts.
Defiant youth activists have put out a call for a mega “Harlem Shake” to be staged on Friday in front of the education ministry in Tunis.
Created on Sunday, 24 February 2013 15:04
Protesters on Sunday blocked the doors to Cairo's main administrative building as part of a growing campaign of civil disobedience around the country against President Mohamed Mursi.
A group of protesters closed the doors of the Mugamma, a massive labyrinth of bureaucratic offices on the edge of Tahrir Square, leaving only a side exit for employees to leave, emploees told AFP.
“This is a call for civil disobedience... We want the implementation of the goals of the revolution such as social justice as well as a delay of parliamentary elections” which is set for April 22, one of the protesters told AFP, declining to give his name.
“We must break the monopoly of the state by Brotherhood,” he added, referring to Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood who is currently in office.
Since a November decree that pushed through an Islamist-drafted constitution, Egypt has been deeply divided between Mursi's Islamist supporters and a wide-ranging opposition that accuses the president of betraying the uprising that brought him to office and consolidating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood.
Outside the Mugamma, the protesters threatened to extend their protest, adding that the next step could be to close down the television building which also houses the information ministry.
In the northern city of Kafr el-Sheikh, hundreds of quarry workers stormed the governorate headquarters to protest against working conditions and forced employees out of the building, chanting against governor Saad al-Husseini, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A crippling economic crisis has also fuelled the anger.
Bakeries across Egypt have threatened to go on strike on Thursday due to rising wheat prices, a potentially devastating move in a country where many rely on subsidized bread as the main food staple.
Thousands are employed at the Mugamma, which houses passport offices, tax offices and various other government agencies.
“A small group of young people closed the main doors of the building and they are not letting anyone in,” one employee told AFP from inside the building.
The protesters “did not enter the building,” the employee said.
“They have left a door open and said employees who finish their shift must leave and that they won't let anyone in,” a witness said.
The Mugamma has been closed before, most recently during protests marking two years since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising.
A general strike in the canal city of Port Said, meanwhile, entered its second week on Sunday, with most shops and factories closed down.
Created on Sunday, 17 February 2013 15:34
Egypt will arm low ranking policemen with pistols, a security source said on Saturday, after they held protests demanding weapons and better work conditions amid a spike in violent crime, AFP reported.
Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim agreed to import 100,000 pistols, the source said, after almost a week of protests by policemen.
Egyptian police officers and some conscripts are equipped with side arms and sometimes assault rifles, but the lowest ranking policemen are unarmed, according to AFP.
Crime spiraled in Egypt after an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, leaving the reviled interior ministry in tatters.
About 30 policemen died during the 18-day uprising, in which police stations were torched, and at least 138 have been killed since, according to ministry figures released in January.
On Saturday, police and civilian mourners at the funeral of a police captain who died the previous night in a gunfight, badly beat a man they believed was involved in the shooting, witnesses said.
Footage on YouTube showed pistol wielding men holding the bloodied suspect on a pickup truck, in the province of Beni Suef, south of Cairo.
The governor of Beni Suef, Maher Beibers, told the Egyptian ONTV channel that he was later taken to hospital, from where he escaped.
Since Mubarak’s overthrow, Egypt has witnessed violence, insecurity and price hikes, fuelling political turmoil already plaguing the country.
Protests between police and protesters, who accuse Islamist President Mohammed Morsi of betraying the revolution that brought him to power, have often turned violent and sometimes deadly.
Last week Egyptian police fired tear gas and water cannons at stone-throwing protesters outside the presidential palace as the opposition rallied to mark the second anniversary of Mubarak's overthrow.
The clashes broke out after several hundred protesters marched to the palace, the site of increasingly frequent clashes.
A wave of deadly clashes swept Suez Canal cities around January 25, the anniversary of the start of the anti-Mubarak uprising, in which dozens of protesters were killed, prompting Morsi to call in the military.
Egypt's cabinet on Wednesday approved a new draft law regulating public demonstrations, which stipulates that organizers must inform authorities of plans to protest in advance and the interior ministry has the right to reject a demonstration.
Protests will be restricted to a specific location in each province to be decided by the governor.
Created on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:35
Thousands demonstrated against Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi and his political backers, the country's ruling Muslim Brotherhood, on the second anniversary of former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster from power.
Protesters in planned anti-government marches set out Monday evening from around the Egyptian capital of Cairo, heading towards Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the January 25 Revolution that deposed Mubarak and overturned his government in February 2011.
“Down with the rule of the [Muslim Brotherhood] Supreme Guide,” protesters chanted as they marched towards the iconic central square, where on a massive stage was displayed the famed televised statement by then-Vice President and former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, announcing that after 18 days of protests, Mubarak had stepped down.
On the second anniversary of that moment, protesters called for a new unity government less than a year after their first democratically-elected president entered office. They also called for constitutional amendments and the firing of Egypt’s prosecutor-general, appointed by Morsi after first granting himself sweeping new powers that placed his presidential authority above that of the judiciary and in effect, creating a legal dictatorship.
The country’s security forces have been on high alert for days, since rioting began on the second anniversary of the start of the January 25 Revolution.
University students demonstrated in the cities of Kafr El-Sheikh and Alexandria, reported the daily Al Ahram newspaper.
Activists protested the deaths of dozens of demonstrators in clashes with police in recent months, and the fact that no one has been held accountable – an echo of the Mubarak regime, albeit in Islamic attire.
“The revolution continues!” read some banners . “After blood has been spilled, there is no legitimacy.”
Created on Sunday, 10 February 2013 08:28
Thousands took to the streets across Egypt on Friday, after opposition groups called for "Friday of dignity" rallies demanding President Mohammed Morsi fulfill the goals of the revolt that brought him to power.
Banging on drums, waving flags and clapping in unison, demonstrators marched from several locations in the capital to Tahrir Square and the presidential palace, according to an AFP report.
"The people want the downfall of the regime," the protesters chanted while others slammed interior ministry officials as "thugs".
In Tahrir, several thousand protesters carried aloft a huge Egyptian flag as they listened to speeches and music from the stage.
Several hundred protesters also gathered outside the presidential palace chanting "Freedom, where are you? Brotherhood rule stands between us," in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood movement from which Morsi hails.
The protests come after several incidents of police violence last week that caused public outrage and sparked angry demonstrations.
Protests against the Islamist president also took place after the weekly Friday Muslim main prayers in several of Egypt's 27 provinces.
In the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh, police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd outside a government building, as protesters hurled stones at the security forces, the official MENA news agency reported.
In Tanta, police clashed with protesters who tried to break into the municipal council building, MENA added.
Thirty-eight opposition parties and movements had joined together to call for the rallies, demanding a new unity government, amendments to the Islamist-drafted constitution and guarantees that the independence of the judiciary be maintained.
Earlier this week, the death of a pro-democracy activist following days in police custody sparked fury and reignited calls for police reform -- a key demand of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
His death came just days after footage was aired live on television of a man stripped naked and beaten by riot police during demonstrations near the presidential palace.
The two incidents confronted Morsi with uncomfortable parallels with the old regime.
A former Egyptian presidential candidate told Al Arabiya in an interview on Sunday that the brutal dragging and beating of the naked man was previously planned by the interior ministry in an effort to terrorize the public.
Ahmed Shafiq, who lost the presidential race to Morsi last year, said the widely circulated video of 50-year-old Hamada Saber was intended to send a message of fear to those protesting in the streets against the brutal reign of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The torture is a “new style of exaggerated terrorism used against the Egyptian citizens that will lead only to violence and hatred of the regime,” Shafiq told Al-Arabiya.
Created on Monday, 28 January 2013 19:55
Exactly two years after violent protests toppled the 32-reign of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been forced to declare a state of emergency for the same reason.
On Sunday, Morsi declared a 30-day state of emergency in three provinces along the Suez Canal where dozens of protesters have been killed in anti-government riots over the past four days.
In Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, protests entered a fourth day as police struggled to contain violence by rioters despite tear gas fired at a crowd protesting what they insisted was a power grab by Islamists. Business owners, in despair at the increasing loss to the already crippled economy, called the rock-throwing protesters “thugs” and told reporters “They are not revolutionaries protesting. They are thugs destroying the country.”
For their part, the protesters insist that none of the goals of the 2011 revolution have been met, with prices continuing to rise and corruption still obvious in the government, albeit with Islamic faces.
Similar clashes between police and protesters took place in Ismaila, located between Suez and Port Said. Rioters attacked a police station with rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails), witnesses and a security official told reporters.
The army, backed by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, has been deployed in both Suez and Port Said, cities located along the Suez Canal.
Calling for dialogue with top officials, Morsi announced Monday in a televised address that a night-time curfew would be imposed in Port Said, Suez and Ismaila beginning Monday evening.
In Port Said, more than 400 people were injured and seven were shot to death during a funeral over the weekend for 33 demonstrators who were killed by police.
But the protests have continued as anti-government demonstrators continued to call for more demonstrations on Monday.
The initial violence began following a court decision sentencing 21 people to death in connection with riots at a Port Said soccer match last year in which dozens were trampled to death.
But Saturday’s funerals appeared to simply provide a further focus for the rage of those already inflamed against the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government, in much the same way protests snowballed two years ago during the January 25 Revolution that deposed Mubarak.
“Down, down with Morsi, down, down the regime that killed and tortured us!” yelled the mourners in Port Said on Saturday as they carried the coffins of those who were killed by security forces through the streets of the city.
Created on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 07:19
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will meet Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Cairo on Wednesday, Morsi's office said.
Abbas and Mashaal will first "meet Egypt's intelligence chief before holding a three-way meeting with President Morsi," presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told AFP.
Azzam al-Ahmad, who is in charge of reconciliation efforts between his Fatah party, of which Abbas is head, said Abbas was traveling to Egypt at Morsi's invitation to discuss the subject.
Mashaal and aides arrived in Cairo from Doha on Tuesday for a visit of several days, the official MENA news agency said.
Hamas and Fatah had been at loggerheads since the Islamist movement seized control of Gaza in June 2007, following its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.
Under Egyptian mediation, the two groups reached a unity agreement in April 2011 but it has so far faltered as the parties spar over its implementation.
This will be the first meeting between Abbas and Mashaal hosted by the Egyptian president since he was elected in June of last year.
The sides seems to have been getting closer since Israel Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. During the counterterrorism operation, the two factions announced they have decided to end infighting. The Palestinian Authority later announced it will release Hamas-affiliated detainees as a goodwill gesture to boost reconciliation efforts.
Last week, for the first time since its violent takeover of Gaza, Hamas allowed the Gaza branch of Fatah party to mark its anniversary in the region.
Created on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 08:34
A new Constitution drafted by an Islamist-majority committee has been signed into law by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
With less than one one-third of voters turning out to decide the fate of the draft over the past week, those who did approved the document by 63.8 %.
However, many Egyptian citizens appear to be losing confidence in the future of the country, and are rushing to withdraw their savings from the nation's banks.
The Cairo government has imposed new restrictions in order to stem the bleed, however. Authorities have imposed currency controls, for the first time banning Egyptians from leaving the country with more than $10,000 in cash.
The government has also pledged to increase taxes – an unpopular move – and cut spending in order to bring the economy back into line in hopes of winning approval from the International Money Fund. The IMF decided recently to hold up a loan it had previously approved for Cairo, citing financial and social instability.
Likewise, the U.S. State Department called on Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi to unify the diverse elements in his society and calm the troubled factions. “As the democratically elected leader of Egypt,” said State Department spokesman Patric Ventrell, Morsi “has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions.”
Morsi's vice president and his communications minister both resigned “for Egypt” in the wake of a decree issued last month by the president granting himself sweeping new powers.
Egypt's Shura Council, the upper house of parliament that previously had little to do with legislative action, is expected to hold its first session on Saturday. Morsi will address the body, which is expected to draft a law regulating upcoming parliamentary elections, according to the pan-Arab Aljazeera news channel.
Created on Monday, 10 December 2012 17:10
Rival mass protests have been called for next Tuesday in Egypt, over a bitterly disputed constitutional referendum, raising the potential for more violent street clashes in a sharpening political crisis.
AFP reported that President Mohammed Morsi's chief foes, the opposition National Salvation Front, called on Sunday for huge protests in Cairo to reject the December 15 referendum on a new charter.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, told AFP that it and allied Islamist movements would counter with their own big rallies in the capital in support of the referendum.
If the dueling demonstrations go ahead, there is a risk of vicious further clashes like the ones that erupted between both sides outside the presidential palace last Wednesday, killing seven people and wounding hundreds.
Egypt's army, which is trying to remain neutral in the deepening struggle, warned on the weekend it "will not allow" a worsening of the crisis. It said both sides must start dialogue.
Morsi has made a key concession to the opposition on the weekend by rescinding a decree giving himself wide-ranging powers free from judicial challenge.
The opposition was unmoved and maintained its position that no talks could happen while the referendum was going ahead.
"The Front calls for demonstrations in the capital and in the regions on Tuesday as a rejection of the president's decision that goes against our legitimate demands," National Salvation Front spokesman Sameh Ashour told a news conference, according to AFP.
"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," he said, reading a statement.
Going ahead with the referendum "in this explosive situation with the threat of the Brothers' militias amounts to the regime abandoning its responsibilities," he said.
The Brotherhood's spokesman, Mahmud Ghozlan, told AFP that the Alliance of Islamist Forces it belongs to was also "calling for a demonstration Tuesday, under the slogan 'Yes to legitimacy'," and in support of the referendum.
The almost nightly protests over the past two weeks have brought out thousands of people into the streets.
In recent days, the protesters have hardened their slogans, going beyond criticism of the decree and the referendum to demand Morsi's ouster.
Amid the protests and tensions, the army was watching nervously. Tanks and troops have been deployed outside the presidential palace but they have made no move to confront the demonstrators.
On Sunday, air force F-16 warplanes flew low over the city center. The official MENA news agency described the unusually low flyover as an exercise against "hostile air attacks and to secure important state installations."
That did not prevent several hundred anti-Morsi protesters gathering outside his palace late Sunday, AFP reported.
Created on Sunday, 09 December 2012 15:50
Egyptian F-16 fighter jets made low passes over the center of Cairo on Sunday in a rare maneuver by the air force over the capital amid high political tension, AFP news agency reported.
At the end of October, jets made similar passes as part of a surprise military exercise.
On Saturday, the army released a statement on political unrest that has killed seven people in the capital, urging supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi to open talks to stop Egypt descending “into a dark tunnel with disastrous results”.
“That is something we will not allow,” it said.
The Egyptian opposition considered Sunday whether to maintain mass protests against Mursi after the Islamist leader announced a key concession in the political crisis dividing the country.
A Mursi aide said the president had agreed “from this moment” to give up expanded powers he assumed last month that gave him immunity from judicial oversight.
However, in a meeting with other political figures on Saturday, Mursi said he would still press ahead with a Dec. 15 referendum on a controversial new constitution drafted by a panel dominated by his Islamist allies.
Calls for protests started late on Saturday from opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, shortly after the president’s decision to annul a controversial decree.
“We call on Egyptian youth to hold peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins in all of Egypt’s squares until our demands are met,” the National Salvation Front said, in a statement read to media by one of its leaders, Mohamed Abu al-Ghar.
“The will of the people is turning toward a general strike,” Abu al-Ghar added.
The Front’s statement called on Mursi to disband organized militias, to investigate clashes between rival camps that left seven dead and hundreds injured in Cairo on Wednesday and to denounce violence between protester camps.
It reiterated its two core demands that Mursi annul a Nov. 22 decree putting himself beyond judicial review and that he cancel a Dec. 15 referendum on the new constitution.
The Front said it “maintains its offer for serious and objective dialogue” conditioned on those demands.
The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, said it will organize human chains on Sunday to back up the dialogue’s results in front of its main headquarters in Mokattam, Cairo, according to Al Arabiya.
The protest calls follow Mursi’s decision on Saturday to annul a constitutional declaration he issued last month expanding his powers and that puts his decisions beyond judicial review.
However, the effects of that declaration would stand and a referendum on a draft constitution would still go ahead as planned on Dec.15, said Islamist politician Selim al-Awa.
“The constitutional decree is annulled from this moment,” al-Awa said, as he relayed the substance of a meeting between Mursi and political leaders.
The president was legally bound under the constitution to maintain that date and had no choice, al-Awa explained.
If the draft constitution were rejected, said al-Awa, a new one would be drawn up by officials elected by the people, rather than ones chosen by parliament as for the current text.
The draft constitution has been criticized for its potential to weaken human rights and the rights of women, and out of fear it would usher in Islamic interpretation of laws.
The two issues -- the decree and the referendum -- were at the heart of the anti-Mursi protests that turned violent this week with clashes on Wednesday that killed seven people and wounded hundreds.
The opposition rebuffed Mursi’s dialogue offer earlier on Thursday as long as those two decisions stood.
In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a focal point for hardcore protesters, news of the annulled decree sparked no festivities or exuberance.
Gamal Fahmi, member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, told Al Arabiya that those who took part in talk with Mursi represented themselves only, adding that the new constitutional declaration did not address the “fundamental” problem, which he said was in the assembly that was tasked to draft the constitution.
The April 6 Movement dismissed Mursi’s move, saying that he failed to address the constitution.
Tareq al-Khouli, a spokesman for the movement, told Al Arabiya,“ We need to draft the constitution which does not represent the Egyptians as a whole, but only the president and his group.”
Created on Saturday, 08 December 2012 21:44
Some protesters in Egypt removed on Friday evening the barbed wire and barriers leading to the presidential palace in Cairo.
According to a report on the website of the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, the guards formed a human chain to block protesters from reaching the palace.
A number of marches had arrived in the area Friday afternoon and, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm, thousands participated. The protesters reportedly raised banners reading, “Leave, leave” and chanted slogans calling for toppling President Mohammed Morsi’s government over the sweeping powers he granted himself as well as a planned referendum on a controversial new constitution.
Both Morsi's Islamist backers and the largely secular opposition have dug in their positions in the confrontation, raising the prospect of further escalation of the crisis rocking the Arab world's most populous state.
In a speech on Thursday, Morsi sought to portray elements of the opposition as "thugs" allied to remnants of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, toppled in a February 2011 uprising.
He defended a decree issued two weeks ago giving him sweeping powers immune from judicial challenge, and vowed to push on with a December 15 referendum on a new constitution drafted by a panel dominated by his Islamist allies.
A grudging offer to sit down with the opposition for talks on Saturday was rebuffed by the National Salvation Front coalition ranged against him.
The Front accused the president of "dividing Egyptians between his 'supporters of legitimacy'... and his opponents, whom he calls 'thugs'."
Demonstrators taking to Cairo's streets said they were determined to stop Morsi, reported AFP.
The demonstrations seen this week were the biggest since Morsi took office in June. The street clashes were also reminiscent of the upheaval that accompanied Mubarak's overthrow early last year.
At least four of Morsi's advisers have quit over the crisis, and the Cairo stock market has taken a heavy hit, reported AFP.
Created on Friday, 07 December 2012 08:18
The Muslim Brotherhood’s main office in Cairo was set ablaze on Thursday, the group’s political party said, and another office used by the party was torched in a suburb south of the city, the state news agency reported.
The Freedom and Justice Party said on its Facebook page that the headquarters in the Mukattam district had been attacked in “a terrorist aggression” by thugs.
The state news agency said the office used by the FJP was set ablaze in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. Another office was broken into near the city center, it said.
“Two hundred thugs went to the headquarters. Security tried to prevent them, but some got through the back door, ransacked it and set it on fire. It is still burning now,” Brotherhood spokesman Mahmud Ghozlan said.
Reporters at the scene said there were fierce clashes between the protesters and police, who fired tear gas.
The attack followed an address by Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi on Thursday night, in which he defied calls to curb his sweeping powers, infuriating thousands of protesters who have clashed bloodily with his supporters in recent days.
In an address broadcast live, Morsi vowed to push on with a Dec. 15 referendum on a controversial new constitution, saying “afterwards, there should be no obstacle and everyone must follow its will.”
Created on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 07:38
The U.S. State Dept is dancing on pins and needles in an attempt to avoid saying that “democracy” has failed in Egypt following Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s latest power grab, which bars the judiciary from challenging his decisions.
Morsi’s Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood party, outlawed in the days of Hosni Mubarak, was elected in democratic elections encouraged by the United States after it helped usher Mubarak out of power last year.
Morsi indicated Monday he is willing to soften his decision to take almost absolute power, but a spokesman’s statement that only “acts of sovereignty’ would take precedence over judicial power is not likely to appease increasingly vocal opponents.
At least one person has died and nearly 1,000 have been injured in violent clashes between protesters and police.
U.S. State Department spokesman Olivia Nuland told reporters Monday, ,”We were concerned that there would be violence, that there were competing demonstrations, et cetera… Obviously we want to see this issue resolved in a way that meets the standards and principles that we’ve been supporting all the way through, since the Egyptian revolution began.”
However, when asked if Morsi’s power grab was non-democratic, Nuland treed to dodge the question, saying that “our statement speaks for our view on this and the various concerns that we had.”
The events in Egypt are “Strike Two” for American attempts at introducing democracy to Israel’s neighbors. Seven years ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, now considered as a possible replacement for Hillary Clifton, was exuberant over the first democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority.
“Strike One” came in the middle of the night, when a phone call woke her up and she was informed that Hamas had won.
Ironically, but perhaps not coincidentally, Strike Two involves the Muslim Brotherhood, which created Hamas.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration is forever hopeful. A reporter at Monday’s daily press meeting told Nuland that Morsi seems to be “basically saying, ‘Trust me; it’ll work out the good way.’ And this money and U.S. support would be contingent on that. At heart, do you trust him that it’ll come out the good way?”
Nuland repeated that his power grab raises “concerns” but the “very murky, uncertain period in terms of the legal and constitutional underpinnings… makes it all the more important that the process proceed on the basis of democratic dialogue and consultation.”
The dialogue so far is taking place through violence. Early Tuesday afternoon, protesters returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the center of the demonstrations that led to the ouster of Mubarak.
Protesters clashed with police and threw Molotov cocktails and stones in anger against Morsi’s power grab.
His Muslim Brotherhood movement had planned to rally in Cairo on Tuesday in support of the president but later called off the event to avoid confrontation.
Created on Saturday, 24 November 2012 06:04
Egypt’s ruling Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) denied on Friday that President Mursi would retract a recent constitutional declaration granting him sweeping powers.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, the FJP’s Vice Chairman Essam al-Erian said that the president will not retract the declaration, and that it “will remain until the constitution is ratified during the coming days.”
Al-Erian’s announcement comes as opponents of President Mursi began a one-week sit-in protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday night to demand the Islamist leader retract his declaration.
“All revolutionary political forces have agreed to begin a sit-in starting Friday,” the Popular Current led by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said in a statement, calling for a mass protest on Tuesday.
So far, 26 political movements and parties have agreed to take part in the sit-in, organizers told AFP.
Supporters to the president’s recent constitutional declaration say the move will cut back a turbulent and seemingly endless transition to democracy, but outraged critics say he has now become a dictator.
Standing before a large number of fellow Islamists outside the presidential palace on Friday, Mursi insisted that Egypt is on the path to “freedom and democracy.”
“Political stability, social stability and economic stability are what I want and that is what I am working for,” Mursi said.
However, Mursi’s speech did not convince thousands of his opponents in Tahrir Sqaure, who decided to begin a one-week sit-in in the Square and called for a mass protest on Tuesday.
The president’s opponents poured into Tahrir after Muslim Friday prayers, joined by leading secular politicians Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. nuclear watchdog chief, and Amr Mussa, an ex-foreign minister and Arab League chief.
Clashes erupted between police and protesters near the square, with demonstrators setting fire to a police truck, witnesses told AFP.
Also, violent confrontations erupted on the day between Mursi supporters and foes in the canal city of Suez and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where protesters ransacked the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which the president was elected in June.
In the same vain, a number of Mursi’s advisors started announcing their resignations on Friday over the president’s recent decisions, reported Al Arabiya.
Samir Morcos, a member of the president’s advisory team, described the recent decrees to be “undemocratic and a leap backwards,” reported Al Ahram.
Under a declaration read out on television on Thursday, the president “can issue any decision or measure to protect the revolution... The constitutional declarations, decisions and laws issued by the president are final and not subject to appeal.”
The move is seen by many a blow to the pro-democracy movement that ousted Mubarak, and sparked fears that Islamists will be further ensconced in power.
It also raised international concerns, with the United States calling for calm and urging all parties to work together.
“The decisions and declarations announced on November 22 raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution,” her statement added.
In Brussels, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said “it is of utmost importance that the democratic process be completed in accordance with the commitments undertaken by the Egyptian leadership.”
Rights watchdog Amnesty International slammed Mursi’s new powers, which “trample the rule of law and herald a new era of repression.”
On Thursday, Mursi undercut a hostile judiciary -- which had been considering whether to scrap an Islamist-dominated panel drawing up a new constitution -- and stripped judges of the right to rule on the case or to challenge his decrees.
The decision effectively places the president above judicial oversight until a new constitution is ratified.
Created on Thursday, 22 November 2012 16:34
Egyptian protesters firebombed the office of satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera in Cairo on Wednesday, as the third day of violent anti-government demonstrations rages on in the volatile Egyptian capital.
Hundreds of protesters reportedly attacked the studio overlooking Tahrir Square with Molotov cocktails, engulfing it in flames.
"At about 11 o'clock (1100 GMT) a group of protesters gathered near the office," Abdulla Ebeid, the operations manager of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr said, according to the RT news agency.
"They started to throw rocks at us and after all the windows were broken they threw a Molotov (petrol bomb) inside the studio so that it caught on fire. And, as you can see, all the components got ruined – the cameras, lighting systems and all the equipment got burned," he said.
After the attack, a crowd beat up Cairo Police Chief Osama el-Saghir, who had traveled to Tahrir Square to diffuse the situation, a security official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Protesters have accused Al-Jazeera of being biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that was swept to power following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
The attack came after the arrest of 118 people since clashes broke out on Monday during a protest to mark the first anniversary of deadly street battles that ousted Egypt's then ruling military power.
Created on Sunday, 18 November 2012 09:24
The new pope of Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic church has been enthroned.
Pope Tawadros II, 60, was elected earlier this month, but the televised official enthronement ceremony was held Sunday at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo. He replaced Shenouda III, who died in March after leading the ancient church for 40 years.
Egypt’s Christians make up about 10 percent of the nation’s estimated 83 million people, making them the largest single Christian community in the Middle East.
Christians have long complained of discrimination, particularly in the last four decades as the country’s Muslim majority moved toward religious conservatism. The rise to power of Islamists after the ouster nearly two years ago of authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak has deepened their concerns amid increasing attacks targeting their churches and businesses.
Amid increased fears about the community's future after the overthrow of Mubarak, Tawadros will be its main contact with Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.
Tawadros told Al Arabiya earlier this month that the security situation, not the dominance of Islamists, is what prompts Egyptians - Christians and Muslims alike - to leave the country, new.
Tawadros said since country’s 2011 revolution, the security situation compelled Egyptians to emigrate, rebuffing claims that Coptic Egyptians are leaving the country more than Muslims.
While Shariah (Islamic law) is not applicable to Christians in Egypt, Tawadros rejected article 2 in the constitution , which states that the “principles” of Islamic Sharia law are the main source of legislation.
He said article 2 will not grant Christians in Egypt their rights.
The marginalization of Christians is what has compelled his predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, to take more of a political role.
But he is uninvolved in politics, he said, adding that the Church as an institution is spiritual and not political.
He also made comments regarding Egypt’s relations with Israel. He said there are no planned trips to Jerusalem and if there are, Egyptian Christians and Muslims will go together.
Created on Sunday, 04 November 2012 09:46
The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has raised its terror threat level in Egypt from “general” to “high”, following reports of an al Qaeda-inspired plot to attack western tourists.
In recent days, Egyptian police reported they had foiled a terror attack aimed at tourists in northern Sinai, close to the border with Gaza.
The Foreign Office said there was now a "high threat of terrorism throughout Egypt, including Sinai.”
Its travel advice for tourists staying at the well-guarded resorts in Sharm el Sheikh remains unchanged, as it said the situation in that particular area is calm and stable.
“Demonstrations happen regularly across Egypt,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on its website. “You should avoid all political demonstrations and large gatherings, especially those in Tahrir Square. If you become aware of any nearby protests you should leave the area immediately.”
“There has been an increase in the number of reports of sexual assaults on women during demonstrations in and around Tahrir Square. Attacks have been experienced by both foreign and Egyptian women,” it continued. “We strongly advise women to avoid Tahrir Square and immediately surrounding areas during demonstrations.”
In October, Sonia Dridi, a French female television reporter for France 24, was surrounded by a group of young men, who began to sexually assault her during a live television broadcast. The attack lasted several minutes before a male colleague managed to pull her away from the mob.
Such assault have become commonplace in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
The raising of the terror also came as more than 1,000 Islamists rallied in Cairo calling for the implementation of sharia Islamic law.
Category: Archeology and History
Created on Saturday, 03 November 2012 08:32
Egypt’s antiquities minister announced on Friday the discovery of a princess’s tomb dating from the fifth dynasty (around 2500 BC) in the Abu Sir region south of Cairo.
“We have discovered the antechamber to Princess Shert Nebti’s tomb which contains four limestone pillars,” Mohamed Ibrahim said.
The pillars “have hieroglyphic inscriptions giving the princess’s name and her titles, which include ‘the daughter of the king Men Salbo and his lover venerated before God the all-powerful,’” he added.
Ibrahim said that the Czech Institute of Egyptology’s mission, funded by the Charles University of Prague and directed by Miroslav Bartas, had made the discovery.
“The discovery of this tomb marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the sepulchres at Abu Sir and Saqqara,” Ibrahim said.
The Czech team also excavated a corridor in the southeast of the antechamber, which leads off to four other tombs, two of which have already been discovered separately.
The two tombs belonged to high-ranking officials including a “grand upholder of the law” and an “inspector of the servants of the palace,” according to their inscriptions. They date from the fifth pharaonic dynasty.
The discoveries have all been made during the excavation season, which began in October, said Usama al-Shini, director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities for Giza.
The corridor contains four limestone sarcophagi that contain statuettes of a man, a man accompanied by his son, and two men with a woman.
Created on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 21:10
The US Embassy has warned American citizens in Cairo to remain alert and be aware the diplomatic mission has “credible information” terrorists are “targeting female missionaries in Egypt.”
U.S. citizens were also told the “exercise vigilance, taking necessary precautions to maintain [their] personal security.”
The warning, issued Friday, advised U.S. citizens to keep their travel documents handy and make sure they are valid. It also reminded Americans to monitor the updated travel warnings and alerts on the website of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Last Friday, U.S. Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) vowed to block $450 million in U.S. foreign aid to Egypt in view of the unstable diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Granger, chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations that oversees foreign aid, said in a statement, “I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time.... I have placed a hold on these funds.”
Earlier this year, Egypt arrested and placed on a travel ban list a group of Americans employed by two pro-democracy nonprofit organizations funded by the U.S. Government, shutting down both offices as well as 15 other similar groups.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) were both shut down in January by the Egyptian government in a sweep of non-governmental groups that receive funding from abroad. The son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Sam LaHood, was among the six, and was personally blocked from leaving the country.
On the anniversary of the 2001 “9/11” Al Qaeda terror attack on America, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was attacked by a screaming mob of thousands of Islamist protesters. The American flag was torn down from the building and replaced by one bearing Arabic writing.
More than a dozen protesters and at least six police officers were injured in the days-long riots, which security personnel were forced to disperse with the use of tear gas canisters and other measures. Demonstrators torched vehicles at the site, and hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at police and at the embassy, as well as at nearby diplomatic missions as well.
Created on Monday, 22 October 2012 11:57
Most Egyptians want their country and Iran to have nuclear weapons, and they also favor renewing ties with Tehran and breaking off relations with Israel, according to a poll by The Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy group.
Eighty-seven percent of the respondents want Egypt to have its own nuclear bomb, and Iran is more than happy to lend Cairo a hand. "We are ready to help Egypt to build nuclear reactors and satellites," Iran’s deputy defense minister said when Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi visited Iran last month.
Sixty-two percent of those polled agreed that “Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt.”
The results of the poll belie an impression Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been trying to spread. He visited Iran several weeks ago but denied he is considering renewing ties with Iran, after more than three decades of a freeze following the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the Islamic Revolution.
Cairo's new ambassador to Israel told President Shimon Peres last week that Egypt will retain the peace treaty, but Morsi's advisers have spoken more assertively against the peace treaty, echoing Morsi's own anti-Israeli statements during his campaign for president.
The Israel Project poll, widely headlined in Iran’s state-controlled media, revealed that 65 percent of Egyptians back renewed diplomatic ties with Iran and that 61 percent support Iran’s nuclear development. Three years ago, a similar poll showed that only 41 percent of Egyptians backed Iran’s nuclear project.
The only sour note towards Iran was the view of 68 percent of the respondents who expressed an unfavorable view of Shi’ite Muslims.
Israel Project CEO Josh Block told The Foreign Policy “Cable” that a nuclear Iran would set off a regional race for nuclear weapons.
"Very scary to people opposed to proliferation of nuclear weapons, let alone to unstable countries in the world's most turbulent part of the world, is the 87 percent who want Egypt to build nuclear weapons," he said. "Morsi’s dangerous embrace of Iran is leading a surprising shift in favor of support for Tehran,” which Egyptians formerly saw as a threat.
The respondents also clearly opposed Cairo’s retaining diplomatic ties with Israel, with 74 percent wanting a break, nearly three times as many as in a 2009 poll, when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was in office.
Seventy-seven percent agreed that "The peace treaty with Israel is no longer useful and should be dissolved."
More than two-thirds of the respondents also said that President Barack Obama favors Israel more than Arabs, and 60 percent thought that the Obama administration has been "a negative thing" for the Arab world.
Created on Monday, 17 September 2012 17:58
Google has begun barring access in Malaysia to an anti-Islamic film that has sparked fury across the Muslim world after the country’s Internet regulator lodged an official complaint.
The low-budget movie, entitled ‘Innocence of Muslims’, has angered followers of Islam for its mocking of the Prophet Mohammed, and for portraying Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.
A spokesman for video-sharing site YouTube, owned by internet giant Google, told AFP on Monday that it began restricting access to clips of the privately-produced film Sunday, in line with its community guidelines.
“When videos breach those rules, we remove them. Where we have launched YouTube locally and we are notified that a video is illegal in that country, we will restrict access to it after a thorough review,” he said.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was reported to have asked Google Saturday to remove clips of the controversial film, believed to have been produced by a small group of extremist Christians in the United States, from YouTube.
Some extracts of it were still available on the video-sharing website on Monday but several other clips had been blocked to users in the Muslim-majority country.
Google has also denied access to the videos in Indonesia, Libya, Egypt and India.
In cities across the Muslim world protesters have vented their fury at the amateur film by targeting symbols of U.S. influence ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other U.S. officials were killed last week in an attack by suspected Islamic militants on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in protest against the film. A total of 17 people have died in violence so far.
Muslims held demonstrations across Malaysia on Friday, calling for the United States to prevent distribution of the film they said was part of a plot by “Christian extremists.”
Cabinet ministers have reportedly also demanded the film be taken offline and condemned YouTube for being “insensitive” and “oblivious to the tumult it has caused.”
Canada closed its embassies in Cairo, Tripoli and Khartoum for the day Sunday as a safety precaution for staff and the buildings, in the wake of attacks on several diplomatic premises.
“We take the safety of our personnel and our missions overseas very seriously,” Foreign Ministry official Rick Roth told AFP.
He said Canadian authorities were monitoring events closely and taking appropriate security measures, but refused to give details on the latter.
Canada’s decision to close its embassies in the capitals of Egypt, Libya and Sudan came a day after the United States withdrew all non-essential personnel from Sudan and Tunisia in response to the wave of angry protests sweeping much of the Middle East over the film.
Created on Sunday, 16 September 2012 16:58
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, has arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with President Mohammed Mursi, the presidency said.
Bashir was met at Cairo’s airport by Vice President Mahmud Mekki and was due to hold talks with Mursi later in the day.
The two-day visit is his first to Egypt since Islamist Mursi’s election in June, following a popular uprising last year that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Both Egypt and Sudan have been reeling from violent protests sparked by a low-budget film, produced in the United States,that mocks Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
Ahead of Bashir’s trip, Amnesty International called on Egypt to withdraw its invitation to the Sudanese leader “and arrest him if he travels to Cairo.”
“If Egypt welcomes Omar al-Bashir it will become a safe haven for alleged perpetrators of genocide,” said Marek Marczynski, Amnesty International Justice Research, Policy and Campaign Manager.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two arrest warrants in 2009 and 2010 against Bashir, who is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.
Egypt has in the past ignored the warrants, with Bashir visiting Cairo in 2009, weeks after the first warrant was issued, and in 2011 to meet the military rulers who took power after Mubarak’s overthrow.
Created on Friday, 14 September 2012 10:03
Yemeni police Thursday shot dead four protesters and wounded 34 others when they opened fire on a crowd attempting to storm the US embassy in Sana'a to protest a film mocking Islam, a security official said.
The White House, meanwhile, said it was doing everything it could to protect its diplomats in Yemen, where witnesses reported that roads leading to embassy were closed down as the area was calm later in the evening.
"Four people were killed and 34 others were wounded in the clashes that lasted from morning until late in the evening" in the area around the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, the official said, adding that eight of them were "seriosuly injured."
Rioters chanting “O Messenger of Allah, O Mohammed...” launched a second assault on the American compound following an attack rebuffed by security forces earlier in the day.
President Abdurabuh Mansour Hadi apologized to U.S. President Barack Obama and to the American people for the acts of “a mob” and ordered an investigation into the attack.
"Those who are behind [this attack] are a mob that are not aware of the far-reaching plots of Zionist forces, especially those that made a film insulting the prophet,” Hadi said.
Some protesters said they saw three vehicles being torched by some of the demonstrators after they breached the compound through an unguarded security gate.
After being evicted from the complex on their first attempt, protesters retreated about 100 meters (330 yards) from the gate and gathered at a checkpoint where they chanted anti-Jewish slogans.
"O Jews, Khaybar, Khaybar. The army of Mohammed will return!” they chanted, referring to a 7th century CE war in the western Arabian Peninsula in which the Muslims were said to have defeated the Jews.
They then launched a second assault on the embassy compound, prompting police to fire on the crowd, killing one and wounding five others. Earlier in the day, six police officers and 13 protesters were wounded in clashes during the first attempted assault on the complex.
The attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen comes as violent demonstrations entered a third day at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, where security forces have been firing tear gas cannisters to maintain control over the mobs.
Meanwhile, Americans mourned the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats who were brutally murdered Tuesday night in a similar attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Protesters claimed the destruction of the consulate and torching of vehicles parked at the site was ignited by rage over an amateur satirical video produced in the United States that mocked the life of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, and included themes of sexuality, murder and violence.
But there is growing speculation that Al Qaeda terrorists were among the frenzied mob that carried out the murderous assault in Benghazi on Tuesday night, rather than simple demonstrators.
Moreover, there is increasing speculation that the continuing violence at other U.S. embassies around the region might signal a campaign of attacks previously promised by the international terrorist organization to mark the eleventh anniversary of its “9/11” attack on America.
Violence by hundreds of demonstrators has broken out at U.S. missions in Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen, as well as in Egypt and Libya this week, all using their rage over the film, “Innocence of Muslims” as the excuse for the riots.
The obscure film, allegedly produced by California real estate developer Sam Bacile, whose identity is becoming increasingly mysterious, as he cannot be located. The video was reportedly released at least six months ago in English, but went unnoticed until it was translated into Arabic and a trailer posted on the YouTube website a few days prior to September 11. Clips of the film were also apparently broadcast on an Egyptian television channel over the weekend. Coptic Christians have since been accused of promoting the film, as has controversial Florida-based
Christian Pastor Terry Jones, who in the past burned copies of the Qur'an.
Created on Friday, 14 September 2012 09:17
An Egyptian man described as “mentally disturbed” tried to break into Israel's El Al airline offices Wednesday at Cairo International Airport.
Egyptian security sources said 30-year-old Mostafa Abdel-Latif “mumbled incomprehensibly” during interrogations following the attempted break-in.
According to Al-Ahram's Arabic language news website, the perpetrator reportedly works at a medical facility in a remote area of the country, the Al-Wadi Al-Gedid governorate.
He told investigators during questioning that he wanted to visit Al-Quds (Jerusalem) to pray at the city's holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, the website reported.
Authorities in Arab countries often describe perpetrators of political crimes as “mentally disturbed” or as “terrorists,” including Egypt. But although this incident was reported by numerous Egyptian media – among them the state-owned Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper – the head of Cairo airport's security, Ahmed Mahmoud, denied the incident when reporters asked for a comment on Wednesday. El Al representatives in Cairo were simply unavailable for comment.
Created on Thursday, 13 September 2012 09:33
Rioting has continued at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for a third day, with 6 police officers and 13 protesters injured
in the melee thus far. Demonstrators have been hurling rocks and firebombs at police and at the American embassy
Security personnel have been trying to disperse the mob, which gathered near the embassy in Tahrir Square, by firing
tear gas canisters from police vehicles.
At least 500 protesters gathered Wednesday in Cairo to protest against an obscure video made in the U.S. that
satirized the life of the Prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, which has also touched off anti-American riots in
other Arab countries across the region as well.
Chanting anti-U.S. slogans, the protest became violent by Wednesday night as demonstrators broke through barbed wire
placed outside the American embassy. Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman Alla Mahmoud told CNN that two police
trucks and a car were torched in the ensuing riot. “Forces were able to push them down toward Tahrir Square, farther
from embassy street,” he said.
Although several arrests were made, the riots continued Thursday for a third day. Meanwhile, Egyptian President
Mohammed Morsi has yet to condemn the attackers. Instead, he attacked the producers of the video, “Innocence of
Muslims,” in a statement on his Facebook page, condemning “the people who have produced this radical work.”
Morsi did, however, note “the Egyptian government is responsible to protect private and public properties and
diplomatic missions in addition to embassy headquarters of various countries.”
During a phone call with U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday, the Egyptian president “expressed his condolences
for the tragic loss of American life in Libya and emphasized that Egypt would honor its obligation to ensure the
safety of American personnel,” a White House statement related.
Created on Thursday, 13 September 2012 07:33
Anti-American violence is spreading across the Middle East, with mobs rioting at US missions in Tunisia, Sudan and
Hundreds of protesters rioted outside the U.S. embassy in Tunisia on Wednesday night. Police in the capital of Tunis
were forced to fire teargas canisters at the mob when some 300 rioters stormed the American embassy compound. The
rioters, however, were pushed back. Up to that point, the demonstration had been relatively peaceful, with
demonstrators brandishing black and white Salafi Muslim banners.
Throughout the Middle East, United States embassies have been warning American citizens to avoid crowded places, and
to “remain alert at all times.” Even demonstrations that appear to be peaceful “can turn suddenly violent,” the
embassy alert warned citizens living in Arab countries throughout the region.
In Morocco, considered a “moderate” Arab nation with few radical Islamist leanings, hundreds of protesters gathered
in Casablanca, the nation's largest city. Demonstrators torched American flags outside the U.S. Consulate, according
to an AFP reporter, chanting anti-Obama and anti-American slogans. No violence was reported. The mostly young
protesters, who reportedly gathered via a call through Internet social networks, were heavily contained by Moroccan
They, like protesters throughout the Middle East, used the excuse of their rage over an amateur video produced in
the U.S. that had made news as an “profane insult to the Prophet Mohammed,” the founder of Islam, as the
justification for the riots. Some used it as an excuse for violence.
In Libya, rage over the film's "insult to Islam" was used as the excuse for what appears to have been a full-scale
Al Qaeda-linked terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the grisly murder of America's
Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three American diplomats.
The obscure video, produced by a man named Sam Bacile, allegedly a pseudonym, was released at least six months ago
and had escaped notice by the Islamic world. Entitled "Innocence of Muslims," it made news after being translated
into Arabic with a trailer posted onto YouTube a few days prior to the 11th anniversary of the “9/11” Al Qaeda
terror attack on America.
Angry demonstrators also protested at the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, where an embassy official who requested anonymity
said, “I do believe it was a few hundred. Our compound was not breached.”
Staff at the embassy in Khartoum met with three of the protesters, who delivered written demands from a group called
“Sudanese Youth.” The official said “They were asking for an immediate apology, removal of the YouTube video,” and
expressed anger at Florida-based Pastor Terry Jones, a controversial Christian cleric reported to be associated with
the video. However, it has subsequently been reported that Jones has had nothing to do with the film, other than
possibly promoting it.
Created on Friday, 17 August 2012 11:11
Army of Islam, the Salafi terrorist organization suspected of being behind the terror attack in the Sinai last week, threatened on Wednesday that it would carry out mass suicide bombings in the heart of Cairo, in response to the Egyptian military’s operation against Islamic organizations in the Sinai.
“No one will condemn the people of Sinai if they react with a car bomb in the heart of Cairo,” the group, which advocates for running Gaza according to Islamic law, said in a statement posted on a Facebook page affiliated with it.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has begun persecutions, led by the agent (Egyptian President Mohammed) Morsi,” said the statement. “Things are moving rapidly. Washington tells Morsi it will help him defend Sinai ... The United States is entering Sinai on the back of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The organization attacked the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, accusing it of heresy and non-implementation of Sharia (Islamic law). It also accused the Brotherhood for persecuting of the Mujahideen, as evidenced this week when a death sentence was imposed on 14 terrorists who carried out a string of terror attacks in the Sinai Peninsula.
The Army of Islam also called on the Egyptian public to provide moral and material assistance to its members who are persecuted by the authorities.
Egypt has launched a crackdown on Sinai terrorism in recent days, in response to the terror attack near the border with Israel last week, in which 16 Egyptian officers were killed.
A report from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has indicated that international terrorist groups with roots in Libya, Sudan and Iraq are working to take over the Sinai Peninsula.
Efforts to turn the region into a major launching point for attacks are being encouraged by Al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri, the report stated.
Created on Friday, 03 August 2012 07:25
Muslims attacked a Coptic church in a village near Cairo Wednesday in the first such incident since Mohamed Morsi became president.
At least 16 people were wounded in the melee, among them 10 police officers, authorities said.
The Muslim rioters were intent on torching the church in the village of Dahshur, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Cairo. They were stopped by police who fired teargas at the mob.
Instead, the Muslim rioters attacked other Christian properties, setting them ablaze, and torched three police cars as well.
The mob “looted and torched shops, including a jewelry store … they terrorized the local community, forcing them to leave their homes,” according to office of the local Coptic Archbishop of Giza.
The cleric's office reported that the entire Christian population had fled the village of Dahshur.
Muslim attacks on the Coptic minority are not unusual in Egypt; Coptic Christians comprise only 10 percent of the population of some 80 million people in the country.
Before the latest elected parliament was dissolved, it was entirely controlled by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt's new president is a member of the same party.
This latest incident was triggered by the death on Tuesday of a Muslim man who was wounded in an earlier clash on Friday. He was burned Tuesday night, sparking Wednesday's riot.
The clash began when an angry Muslim accused a Christian laundry worker of burning his shirt while ironing it. The argument ballooned into a clash that led to Muslims and Christians hurling firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at each other, leading to the man's injury and subsequent death.
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 19:39
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has written his first letter to his Israeli counterpart, responding to one sent by President Shimon Peres.
The letter maintained a cordial tone similar to that of Peres, thanking the Israeli president for his Ramadan greetings.
Morsi then pointedly said that he is looking forward to Egypt helping to get the peace process “back to its right track” – a blunt reminder the Muslim Brotherhood has been advocating an aggressive plan to end the years-long final status stalemate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"I take this opportunity to reiterate that I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to getting the Middle East Peace Process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for peoples of the region, including the Israeli people,” he wrote.
Both Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote to Morsi following his election last month, congratulating him and underscoring the importance of maintaining the peace accord with Israel signed in 1979.
Morsi, who said in a speech that he would support the Palestinian Authority in its drive to achieve statehood, also promised to honor international treaties – which includes the 1979 peace treaty signed with Israel.
It's a delicate balancing act, given that much of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood party that brought him into the presidency is vehemently opposed to maintaining that agreement. But the United States has been adamant about linking its own aid to Egypt with Cairo's willingness to maintain its peace with Israel – a strong incentive difficult for Morsi to ignore.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Cairo just hours after Morsi's letter was opened in Jerusalem. The two men met at the presidential palace in Cairo together with Egypt's top general, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, in an effort to balance security concerns with the country's somewhat shaky transition to democracy.
Created on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 09:53
Egypt on Monday eased the visa requirements for Gazans under 40 who want to travel to Egypt through the Rafiah border crossing into the Sinai.
"We were officially informed by the Egyptian side about a decision to allow any Palestinian under the age of 40 to travel through Rafah with his family without a visa, starting today,” Hamas official Maher Abu Sabha told reporters.
Until now, residents of the Hamas-run coastal enclave within that age bracket have been unable to travel without a visa due to security concerns.
The new regulations lift that requirement if they are travelling with family, which security analysts say is an obvious loophole for moving Hamas terrorists into Sinai.
Hamas, which seized Gaza from the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in a bloody 2007 putsch, is actively conducting terror operations against the Jewish state from bases in the Sinai.
The government of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubkarak had restricted the movement of Gazans in and out of Sinai following the 2006 Hamas abduction IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive for over five years.
However, Egypt's new Islamist government agreed to permanently reopen Rafiah in May 2011,
Egypt’s newly elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi also recently raised the number of people allowed to cross daily out of Gaza to 1,000.
Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement is the parent movement of Hamas.
Created on Thursday, 19 July 2012 23:21
The leader of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement which rules the Gaza Strip, met new Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi on Thursday and hailed Mursi’s election as the start of a “new era” for Egypt and the Palestinians.
It was Khaled Meshaal’s first visit to Egypt since Mursi won the country’s first free leadership vote.
The founding of Hamas was inspired by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood – Egypt’s oldest and most established Islamist movement -- but the Palestinian group now operates independently because of its location and the conflict with Israel.
Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, is regarded by the West as a terrorist group for its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
Meshaal and Mursi discussed ways to ensure that Gaza, which borders Egypt, gets the gas and petroleum it needs despite an Israeli blockade of the territory.
“We have entered a new era in Palestine’s relationship with Egypt, the big sister and the leader of the Arab nation,” Meshaal said after the meeting. “We were happy with what we heard from President Mohammed Mursi and his vision to handle all these issues.”
The talks lasted almost two hours, twice as long as Mursi’s meeting a day earlier with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, Hamas’s rival.
Hamas was isolated by Egypt under Mursi’s ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak, as well as by other Gulf and Arab states and the West. It was embraced by Iran, Hezbollah and Syria -- an alliance built on hostility to Israel -- though Hamas is Sunni Muslim and its three allies are Shiite or Shiite-linked Alawites.
Mursi is under pressure from many in his movement to help ease the Gaza blockade. Palestinians accuse Egypt of being complicit in the blockade by closing its border with Gaza.
Egypt’s army-backed government decided in February to let more fuel into Gaza and increase electricity supplies.
But Hamas has yet to see any sign of a policy shift since the election of Mursi, who is keen not to upset Egypt’s ally, the United States, and weaken his hand in a struggle with the powerful military.
Meshaal said Egypt’s presidency and intelligence services would continue to shepherd a reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah that began last year.
“Egypt has a key role in this,” he said, adding that Hamas “remains strategically committed to the reconciliation.”
Created on Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:49
FOREIGN MINISTER AMR:
(Via interpreter.) I’m delighted to have Mrs. Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State here for the first time to Egypt since the revolution. It’s a very important visit, and especially in light of the U.S.-Egyptian historic relation, which serve the interest of both countries and which go back to 40 years ago.
Today, Mrs. Clinton had a very prolonged meeting with the President, and she addressed – they addressed several issues concerning bilateral relations and also the situation in the region and both parties’ visions on these issues. With respect to these issues, the talks were amicable and friendly and frank.
Without much ado, I’ll give you the way to – the chance to speak now, and afterwards we’ll take two questions from both sides.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister. And I want to thank you and President Morsi for a warm welcome and a very thorough conversation about a number of important issues confronting Egypt and the region.
This is, of course, a time marked by many historic firsts, and it is very clear that Egyptians are in the midst of complex negotiations about the transition, from the composition of your parliament to the writing of a new constitution to the powers of the president. Only Egyptians can answer these questions, but I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and for your democratic transition.
This afternoon, President Morsi and I began a constructive dialogue about the broad, enduring relationship between the United States and Egypt for the 21st century. We discussed the challenges ahead and how the United States and Egypt can work together in a spirit of mutual respect and mutual interests.
First, we discussed how the United States can support the Egyptian people and their aspirations and in particular the economic package outlined by President Obama to relieve up to one billion dollars in Egypt’s debt as its democratic transition moves forward. In close consultation with the United States Congress, the Obama Administration is preparing to provide budget support to help Egypt stabilize its economy and to use debt relief to foster innovation, growth, and job creation. As Egypt takes these steps to shore up your economy, we will support you with international financial institutions and other donors.
We are also focused on increasing trade, investment, and entrepreneurship to create jobs and are ready to make available $250 million in loan guarantees to Egyptian small-and-medium-sized businesses. We are sending a high-level delegation of American businesses in early September to explore new investment and trade opportunities, and we will be creating the U.S.-Egypt Enterprise Fund. We’ll launch that fund with $60 million. We have prominent Egyptian and American business leaders who will run it. It is modeled on what we have done that has worked in other countries before.
Second, the President and I discussed the importance of keeping Egypt’s democratic transition moving forward, and I commended him on his pledge to serve all Egyptians, including women and minorities and to protect the rights of all Egyptians. President Morsi made clear that he understands the success of his presidency and, indeed, of Egypt’s democratic transition depends on building consensus across the Egyptian political spectrum, to work on a new constitution at parliament, to protect civil society, to draft a new constitution that will be respected by all, and to assert the full authority of the presidency.
And thirdly, we discussed Egypt’s role as a leader in the region. I commended the President for going to the African Union Summit to reassert Egyptian leadership in Africa and emphasized the importance of upholding Egypt’s international agreements. More than three decades ago, Egypt and Israel signed a treaty that has allowed a generation to grow up without knowing war. And on this foundation, we will work together to build a just, comprehensive, regional peace in the Middle East based on two states for two people with peace, security, and dignity for all.
We believe America’s shared strategic interest with Egypt far outnumber our differences. And we know that Egypt’s future is up to the Egyptian people, but we want to be a good partner. We want to support the democracy that has been achieved by the courage and sacrifice of the Egyptian people and to see a future of great potential be realized for the nearly 90 million people of Egypt who are expecting that to occur.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) Mohamad Soliman from Nile News. You say that the U.S. supports the democratic transition in Egypt, but some believe that some statements made by U.S. officials have a negative impact on efforts to reach consensus among the various Egyptian parties. What’s your comment to that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do support the democratic transition, but we know that it is for Egyptians to decide your way forward. And what we have tried to do, President Obama and I, is to stress democracy is hard. We have been at this for more than 236 years, and it requires dialogue and compromise and real politics. So we are encouraged, and we want to be helpful, but we know that it is not for the United States to decide. It is for the Egyptian people to decide, and we will continue to support the Egyptian people making these decisions in the best way that we can.
MS. NULAND: On the U.S. side, Reuters, Arshad Mohammed, please.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, do you regret in retrospect that successive American administrations supported the Mubarak government, which for so many years repressed and sought to marginalize the Muslim Brotherhood, including at times imprisoning President Morsi, whom you just met? And secondly, did President Morsi raise with you the case of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the cleric who is in prison in the United States? And if so, what was your response?
SECRETARY CLINTON: The answer to the second question is no.
Answer to the first question is we worked with the government of the country at the time. We work with governments around the world. We agree with some of them; we disagree with others of them. We were consistent in promoting human rights and speaking out for an end to the emergency law, an end to political prisoners being detained. So I think you have to put this in context.
The United States has relations with every nation in the world, and we stand for democracy and human rights, but it’s not always easy for countries to transition from authoritarian regimes to democratic ones. Sometimes it’s very bloody, with great loss. Egypt took a different path, and we now are doing all we can to support the democratically elected government and to help make it a success in delivering results for the people of Egypt.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) It’s two questions. And first one concerns have – has the U.S. or yourself taken any steps to bring President Morsi and Netanyahu together, especially that some people raise the possibility of amending some of the provisions of the peace treaty? And the second question concerns the U.S. position vis-a-vis the Palestinian reconciliation efforts. And there’s an understanding that the U.S. is opposed to that and also opposed to the Palestinians turning to the United Nations. So the question is if you were in President – in the Palestinian President’s shoes, what exactly would you do with regard to this issue?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we – as to the first question, it is up to the two nations and the President and the Prime Minister to make their own scheduling plans. We have done nothing. That’s not our role; that would not be appropriate. Obviously, we think it’s important for all the nations in the region to try to maintain peace and stability, especially with so many economic challenges facing the region. And we certainly support the continuation of the peace agreement, because we think, as I said, it has brought great benefits to Egypt and will continue to do so, enabling the President to focus on the economic conditions and the internal political situation here in the country.
And as to your second question, I’m in very close communication with President Abbas. I met with him last Friday in Paris. Our goal is to help bring about the two-state solution. And we know that it can only happen if there is a negotiation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and that can only happen if all Palestinians are committed to seeking a political resolution and renouncing violence.
So reconciliation is up to the Palestinians, and I commend the Egyptian Government for all the work that Egypt has done. But at the end of the day, the factions of the Palestinians themselves have to determine whether they are committed to a negotiation that will result in a state which they deserve and which the Palestinian people have every reason to expect, or whether there will be diversions and other actions that do not promote that. And I personally believe, having watched this closely now for more than 20 years, that it’s imperative there be a negotiated resolution. And I will continue to do everything I can to bring that about.
FOREIGN MINISTER AMR: (Via interpreter.) I would like to add something about the peace treaty. Mr. President has repeatedly reaffirmed, and on all occasions, that Egypt continues to respect all treaties signed as long as the other party to the treaty respects the treaty itself. And today, he once again reiterated this issue and also reiterated that Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself. And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4th, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
MS. NULAND: (Inaudible) CNN, Elise Labott, please.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. You spoke last week about the parties needing to – in Egypt – needing to get together and settle their political differences. And today you spoke about President Morsi needing to assert the full authority of his office. But I’m wondering if you’re equating the SCAF, which seems to have undemocratically overstayed its welcome in the political sphere, with an elected president and parliament that you yourself said was brought to office in a free and fair election. I mean, is there a moral equivalence there, or should the SCAF be kind of pulling back now? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, Elise, this is first and foremost a question for the Egyptian people. But the United States supports the full transition to civilian rule with all that entails. And we have commended the SCAF for representing the Egyptian people in the revolution, as compared to what we’re seeing in Syria, which is the military murdering their own people. The SCAF here protected the Egyptian nation, and we commend them for overseeing a free, fair election process. But there is more work ahead, and I think the issues around the parliament, the constitution have to be resolved between and among Egyptians. I will look forward to discussing these issues tomorrow with Field Marshal Tantawi and in working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.
And I would only add that this is not an uncommon issue in these transitions. If you look at Latin America, you look at Asia, you look at the former Soviet Union, other countries have gone through these transitions, especially from authoritarian, military-dominated rule. So I am confident that the Egyptian people, acting in the interest of all the people, can resolve these questions themselves.
MS. NULAND: Translation please.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Can she translate my answer, please?
INTERPRETER: (In Arabic.)
QUESTION: (Off mike.)
QUESTION: (Off mike.)
QUESTION: (Off mike.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: You know, this is great evidence of a free press, which is part of democracy. Thank you.
Created on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 20:33
Egyptian economic and political analysts warned of the growing dangers of slum areas spreading across the country, especially what is commonly called the “explosive belt” around the capital Cairo.
According to official reports, Egypt is home to 1,000 slum areas, 58 of which are located around Cairo in addition to another 67 that are close to the capital. Only five percent of those slum areas have been developed, according to reports.
The dangerous impact of slum areas on security in Egypt, analysts argue, is mainly due to those places being a fertile soil for various forms of crime.
Slum areas, for example, are known for the arms trade, drug dealing and child labor. Prostitution and incest are also rampant in these areas, they add. In addition, they are not productive and therefore do not contribute to the economy.
According to sociologists and psychologists, the concentration of outlaws in slum areas and the remarkable rise in crime rates are partly attributed to slum dwellers’ isolation from the rest of society.
This, they explain, is mainly because they feel they are outcasts and believe they have been abandoned by society. This feeling of injustice finds an outlet in different types of crimes which they see as their way of retaliation against a government that treats them as non-existent.
Their anger at the government is intensified by the fact that most of them do not get any services, like electricity, sewage and potable water.
Experts add that this wide gap between residents of slum areas and the government gradually leads to loss of any sense of belonging to the country as they tend to create their own colonies and even come up with a language of their own.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)
Created on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:19
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's condition is deteriorating rapidly both physically and psychologically as he lies in the hospital wing of Cairo's Tora Prison, in the intensive care unit.
His son Gamal, also incarcerated, was moved by Interior Minister Prisons Department Chief Mohamed Naguib to a ward next to the hospital in order to be closer to his father.
Mubarak, 84, suffered a severe nervous breakdown overnight late Tuesday. He arrived Saturday after receiving a life sentence following conviction for complicity in the killings of 850 protesters last year in the Tahrir Square revolution that led to his ouster.
The former president, who reportedly has been treated in the past for cancer, is currently suffering from high blood pressure as well as cardiac problems.
He was placed on a respirator five times in the past 24 hours, according to the Egyptian state Middle East News Agency (MENA).
Prison doctors have been considering moving him to a military or larger private hospital in order to provide more appropriate care. A report by the doctors is to be submitted to Naguib, who said he would submit it to the public prosecutor.
Created on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 09:34
Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s health is “severely deteriorating” three days after the chief prosecutor said he will appeal his life sentence and ask for the death penalty for complicity in the murders of more than 850 protesters last year.
Sources inside the Cairo prison where he is being held said that Mubarak collapsed several times following visits on Monday by his wife Suzanne, and his sons Alaa and Gamal. It was the first family visit since the sentence. He was placed on mechanical ventilation.
The court that found Mubarak guilty acquitted his sons, but the prosecutor said he will file new indictments charging them with corruption. The acquittals and the life sentence, instead of the death penalty, set off massive protests and fueled emotions as Egypt heads into the last week before elections for Mubarak’s successor.
Egypt’s official news agency said that ”the severe deterioration in the former president’s condition” prompted prison staff to call for medical doctors. Authorities refused Alaa Mubarak’s request for his father’s personal doctor to examine him.
Mubarak has been in poor health for several years and reportedly was operated on, possibly for cancer. Since his arrest, he spent most of his time in a hospital. During his trial, he was wheeled into the court room on a stretcher, although detractors said he was staging poor health in order to win compassion.
After he was sentenced, several reports said he suffered a heart attack, but there has been no confirmation.
Before his ouster, Mubarak tried to retain power and rejected offers to move out of the country, saying, "I will die in Egypt.” Last Sunday, the Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm reported that he said that the military council that took over after his ouster had deceived him. "Egypt has sold me. They want me to die here," he reportedly said.
Created on Saturday, 02 June 2012 20:45
Thousands of Egyptians poured into Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday night to protest against controversial verdicts acquitting ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s sons and former security figures.
The protesters were joined by Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Mursi, Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, and moderate Islamist candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.
Mursi earlier called on Egyptians to continue their "revolution" and vowed that he would push for a retrial of Mubarak and his sons if he is elected president.
All of us, my brothers, must realize in this period that the continuation of the revolution, and the revolutionaries' staying put in their positions in the squares, is the only guarantee to achieve the goals," he said at a news conference.
The Egyptian Brotherhood movement has been strongly criticized for having refused to join liberal movements in protests last year against the ruling military council.
The Brotherhoods were repeatedly described by many liberals as traitors of the revolution, and the powerful movement’s decision to join protests Saturday in Tahrir is likely to reconcile it with the Egyptian liberal street.
Thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets across Egypt after Mubarak and his interior minister were jailed for life and six police chiefs were acquitted over last year's deaths of protesters.
Several political groups, including the Brotherhood movement, announced plans to remain in protest squares across the country through the night and to continue protesting until “justice is established.”
Both defense lawyers and lawyers representing Mubarak's alleged victims said the verdict, in which the court paradoxically said it could not determine that police killed protesters, could be easily appealed.
"Down with military rule!" the protesters chanted.
"Either we get justice for our martyrs or we die like them," a section of the crowd shouted.
Mubarak and his aides were accused of ordering and complicity in the deaths of some of the 850 people killed during the 18-day uprising that ousted the dictator on February 11, 2011.