Secret tomb belonging to an Ancient Egyptian ‘Priest of Magic’ discovered 4,500 years after it was sealed off from the world

  • Archaeologists at Abusir Archaeological  Cemetery at Giza have found the tomb of Shepseskaf ‘ankh
  • The vast tomb belonged to the Head of  Physicians of Upper and Lower Egypt in the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom –  4,500 years ago
  • A large door covered in hieroglyphs  revealed that its occupant was the ‘Priest of Khnum,’ or ‘Priest of  Magic’

By  Sarah Griffiths

PUBLISHED: 08:35 EST, 24  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 10:15 EST, 24 October 2013

A ‘huge’ limestone tomb belonging to an  important Egyptian physician has been discovered.

Archaeologists at Abusir Archaeological  Cemetery at Giza have unearthed the final resting place of Shepseskaf ‘ankh  that has been undisturbed for 4,500 years.

The generous size of the tomb, which is 69 by  45 feet long and 13 feet high, indicates the importance of the ancient medical  professional, who was Head of Physicians of Upper and Lower Egypt in the Fifth  Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.

Archaeologists at Abusir Archaeological Cemetery at Giza have unearthed the final resting place of Shepseskaf 'ankh  

Archaeologists at Abusir Archaeological Cemetery at Giza  have unearthed the final resting place of Shepseskaf ‘ankh that has been  undiscovered for 4,500 years. The generous size of he tomb indicates the  importance of the ancient medical professional


Vice head of the Ancient Egyptian sector, Ali  ALasfar, said a large door covered in hieroglyphs revealed that its occupant is  the ‘Priest of Khnum,’ or ‘Priest of Magic’.

The false door with the name and title of its  owner is located inside a chapel where the tomb itself was found, Fox News reported.

The door in the eastern part of the tomb also  says that the medicine man was one of the most important royal physicians in  Ancient Egypt at the time.

The large door covered in hieroglyphs  

The large door covered in hieroglyphs revealed that its  occupant is the ‘Priest of Khnum’ or ‘Priest of Magic’


It is the third tomb of a physician  discovered in Abusir Cemetery, which is an enormous necropolis close to modern  Cairo and served as an elite burial place for the Ancient Egyptian capital of  Memphis.

Antiquities Minister Ibrahim Ali, said: ‘This  discovery is important because  this is the tomb of one of the greatest doctors  from the time of the  pyramid builders; one of the doctors closely tied to the  king.’

The necropolis where the tomb was found is  part of a vast pyramid field that stretches from north Giza to Saqqara and was  designed to supplement Giza, which was already filled up with funeral monuments  of the 5th Dynasty pharaohs, Heritage Daily reported.

The physician’s tomb makes up part of a 21 by  14 metre plot surrounded by walls four metres tall that is thought to belong to  a family.

The archaeologists must have been relieved to  find the tomb and highly-carved door intact, as parts of the site, along with  Saqqara and Dahshur was damaged by looters during the Egyptian protests in  2011.

Ancient Egyptian physicians used numerous  methods to heal patients but many of their techniques were also based on  religious beliefs and most physicians were also priests.

It was common for different priests to  act  as specialist medics, as they believed that different gods  governed different  parts of the human body.

Much of what is known about the priests and  doctors comes from ancient papyrus manuscripts that reveal the cures they used  as well as how they performed operations and used surgical implements to remove  cysts and tumours.

Some of the ‘cures’ composed of 600 drugs and  800 procedures, developed by the ancient physicians – such as applying direct  pressure to cuts – are still used today.

It is the third tomb of a physician discovered in Abusir Cemetery 

It is the third tomb of a physician discovered in Abusir  Cemetery (excavations are pictured), which is an enormous necropolis close to  modern Cairo and served as one of the most elite burial places for the Ancient  Egyptian capital of Memphis

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Egypt detains Turkish citizen on charges of espionage -report

Source: Reuters – Sat, 14 Sep 2013 03:45 PM

Author: Reuters

CAIRO, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Egypt has detained a Turkish citizen on suspicion of spying and collusion with the Muslim Brotherhood, the state news agency MENA said on Saturday.

The arrest could be a new source of tension between Ankara and Cairo whose relations have all but broken down since Mohamed Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Turkey’s ruling AK Party, was ousted from the Egyptian presidency in July.

Rasit Oguz, a 46-year-old Turk, was arrested in the city of Ismailia northeast of Cairo on Aug. 28 while taking photographs of military establishments, security sources said.

MENA said delegates from the Turkish mission in Cairo were following up on his case and had visited him in detention.

Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of Mursi’s removal, calling it an “unacceptable coup”.

It recalled its ambassador in August after a violent crackdown on Mursi’s supporters. He returned to Cairo this month but Egypt said it would not reciprocate until Turkey stopped its “interference”.      (Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)


Muslim Brotherhood leader Gomaa Amin is in hiding in London

The new spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is living in hiding in London in fear of state-sponsored assassination, it can be disclosed.


Mohammed Badie, 70, the Muslim Brotherhood's previous spiritual leader, was arrested last Tuesday morning in Cairo.

Mohammed Badie, 70, the Muslim Brotherhood’s previous spiritual leader, was arrested last Tuesday morning in Cairo. Photo: REUTERS

By , and Edward Malnick

9:00PM BST 24 Aug 2013

Gomaa Amin is understood to have been made head of the Islamist organisation last week following the arrest of his predecessor in Cairo by Egypt’s military rulers.

Mr Amin, 79, had flown to London about two months ago for medical treatment and as a result escaped detention when the army seized power in a bloody coup.

He is now residing at an undisclosed address from which he is trying to orchestrate the Muslim Brotherhood’s response to the coup.

The presence of Mr Amin in London is a potential headache for British authorities who may be obliged to provide protection for such a senior and controversial figure.

The Muslim Brotherhood supports a caliphate, a unified Islamic state under Sharia law, and has been accused of fuelling religious tensions in the Middle East, particularly with the Christian minority.

Attacks on Christians in Syria and Egypt are highlighted in a new interview with Lord Sacks, the outgoing Chief Rabbi, who spoke of his grave concern for the religious minority.

“I think this is a human tragedy that is going almost unremarked,” Lord Sacks says in an interview with the Telegraph.

“I don’t know what the name for this is, it is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. We are seeing Christians in Syria in great danger, we are seeing the burning of Coptic churches in Egypt.

“There is a large Coptic population in Egypt and for some years now it has been living in fear. I think sometimes Jews feel very puzzled that Christians do not protest this more vociferously.”

Lord Sacks’s comments – while not directly aimed at the Muslim Brotherhood which describes itself as a non-violent organisation – will turn the spotlight on the Brotherhood’s Egyptian leaders, who appear to be making the UK their base in exile.

There will may be concern that Mr Amin’s residency in London will attract militant Islamists. In the 1980s and 1990s, Britain largely operated an ‘open-door’ policy allowing extremists to live in exile in London to escape persecution from authoritarian regimes in the Arab world.

So-called ‘preachers of hate’ including Abu Qatada, Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri Mohammed used London as a base to radicalise young Muslims, who went on to commit or attempt terrorist atrocities both here and abroad.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood say it is wrong to liken the group to other Islamists which support al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

The Muslim Brotherhood, through its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party, has instructed lawyers in London to investigate whether Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian general at the head of the army, who deposed Mohammed Morsi, the country’s democratically-elected president, has committed crimes against humanity.

The team of lawyers includes Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, the former director of public prosecutions, and Michael Mansfield QC, who brought the private prosecution against the killers of Stephen Lawrence.

Legal actions may be brought at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague or else through a private prosecution in London.

If successful, Egypt’s new military rulers may face having their assets frozen in the West and even possibly arrest should they try to visit the European Union or other countries signed up to the ICC.

Mr Amin is understood to be heavily involved in bringing the case although lawyers refuse to identify individuals over fears for their safety.

Tayab Ali, a partner at human rights law firm ITN Solicitors who is head of the legal team, said: “It is really dangerous for Muslim Brotherhood members in exile in London.

“Nobody anticipated how extreme General Sisi’s interim government has been. It appears to be trying to exterminate the Muslim Brotherhood and wipe it out. Nobody will argue that the lives of the senior leadership are in danger and that includes those in London.”

There has been confusion over who is running the Muslim Brotherhood since the security crackdown. Mohammed Badie, 70, its previous spiritual leader, was arrested last Tuesday morning in Cairo.

His position appears to have been taken by Mr Amin, a deputy leader almost a decade older. Mr Badie defeated him in elections to the senior position in 2010.

The Muslim Brotherhood has refused to confirm the identity of its new spiritual leader but, an Arabic news website, reported that an emergency meeting had taken place following Mr Badie’s arrest and Mr Amin given the role. It is not clear if he is an interim leader.

Mona al-Qazzaz, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokeswoman in the UK, described Mr Amin as a senior leader who had arrived in London earlier in the summer.

She said: “He is one of the senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and he is here in London. He was here for medical checks two months ago.”

Mr Amin, a father of three, has been an official member of the Muslim Brotherhood since 1951 and for many years has been pursued by the Egyptian authorities.

He was jailed for six years between 1965 and 1971 for opposing the government of Gamal Abdel Nasser and was later put on a wanted list following the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981 – part of a mass round up of Muslim Brotherhood leaders – prompting him to live in exile in Saudi Arabia for four years

He was a vocal supporter of the Arab Spring and actively voiced calls for Sunni Muslims, who predominantly support the Muslim Brotherhood, and Shiites to unite against “a single enemy who [is] American Zionist”.

The scale of support for the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK is unclear but it is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 Egyptians living in London voted for the party through ballot at the Egyptian embassy in London. The majority of the 6,000 Egyptian citizens in London voted for alternative parties in the elections last year.

Egypt: Mubarak to be released in the next 48 hours / Former president will get his military rank back, says lawyer

19 August, 19:18

(ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will be released from detention within the next 48 hours. The announcement was made by one of his lawyers, Fareed El-Deeb, confirming that the prosecution has acquitted him of all corruption charges except for alleged bribes received from a publisher. Prosecution sources contacted by ANSA have confirmed that the former leader will be released ”this week”.

Mubarak “will get his military rank back” as general, and “will be released within the next 48 hours, to then go either home or to a military hospital”, ANSA was told by the former Egyptian president’s lawyer, Fareed El-Deeb. “He has not been convicted, and so he has a right to be released from prison. He will get his military rank back, and an appeal has been lodged for the Al-Arah case. In any case, he has already given the money back,” El-Deeb told ANSA. The former leader “will leave the Tora jail and will go either home or to a military hospital”. ”The judges will be the ones to decide,” his lawyer added.

Mubarak – noted the sources – was charged in connection with four different legal proceedings. The most serious is for failing to stop the killing of protestors in 2011, for which he was handed down a life sentence: a decision later annulled. A retrial will be held but with no requirement for him to be held in detention while proceedings are underway. There are also three cases for alleged illicit gains, graft and the payment of bribes attributed to the director of the state-run daily Al-Ahram, which has the widest circulation in the country. The sources say that the first two have already passed the statute of limitation, as the charges were not made official within 18 months of when the former president was taken into detention. The last case does not seem to warrant continuing his detention, as it is simply an administrative procedure.

Opera head sacked under Mursi is Egypt’s culture minister

EEV: Not evil, but make me smile 🙂



Source: Reuters – Mon, 15 Jul 2013 04:11 PM

Author: Reuters


(Refiles to clarify status of government)

CAIRO, July 15 (Reuters) – The former head of the Cairo opera, who was sacked by ousted President Mohamed Mursi’s Islamist government, has been named Egypt’s new culture minister by the country’s new military-backed interim government.

Ines Abdel Dayem was fired as head of the Cairo Opera House by Mursi’s culture minister in May.

Her sacking, along with an Islamist parliamentarian’s call for a ban on ballet, prompted performers and cultural figures to stage a sit-in at the culture ministry lasting several weeks.

Dayem, a French-educated flautist, announced on Monday that she had accepted the post of culture minister in the interim government being set up by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

Beblawi has selected mostly liberals and technocrats for a cabinet to run Egypt under an army-backed road map after the military’s overthrow of Mursi on July 3. (Reporting By Shadia Nasralla and Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Roddy) = hpbreaking


How the CIA Helped The Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrate the West

EEV: Posted at request, in regards to U.S. historical support of the Muslim Brotherhood.



by Jerry Gordon (August 2011)

Muslim Brotherhood and founder Hasan al-Banna

In April of 2007, then House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer had an encounter with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood representatives in Cairo. Fox News reported:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliament leader, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, twice on Thursday — once at the parliament building and then at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.

U.S. Embassy spokesman John Berry would only confirm that Hoyer, who represents Maryland, met with el-Katatni at U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone’s home at a reception with other politicians and parliament members.

[. . .]

But Berry said U.S. government policy does not bar meetings with Brotherhood members of parliament and Hoyer’s talks with el-Katatni were not a change in U.S. policy toward the group.

“It’s our diplomatic practice around the world to meet with parliamentarians, be they members of political parties or independents,” Berry said. “We haven’t changed our policy with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization.”

This encounter with the Muslim Brotherhood, who controlled upwards of one fifth of the seats in Egypt’s Parliament as so-called independents, was not sanctioned by Bush Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. She had allegedly refused to meet with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Representatives. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, founder of Z Street commented to us in an Iconoclast blog post:

The Muslim Brotherhood is evil incarnate: This is their motto: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was founded by fundamentalist Egyptian school teacher, Hasan al Banna in 1928. He advocated violent Jihad and the replacement of secular governments with a worldwide totalitarian Caliphate governed under strict Islamic Shariah law. Banna became a devotee of Adolf Hitler, who was himself an admirer of Islam and militarist Jihad conquest. Despite Banna’s assassination by Egyptian authorities under King Farouk in 1949, the MB succeeded in establishing branches throughout the Middle East, such as Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, Jordan and Syria. There are even branches in Europe and America. The Hamas Charter of 1988 seeks the obliteration of the Jewish State of Israel. Among MB fronts in the US are:

  • Council of American Islamic Relations;
  • Islamic Society of North America;
  • Islamic Circle of North America;
  • Muslim Students Association;
  • Muslim American Society;
  • International Institute for Islamic Thought; and,
  • Muslim Public Affairs Council.

These MB fronts were identified as unindicted co-conspirators in the Federal Holy Land Foundation trial with convictions in 2008,  involving the funneling of upwards of $36 million to Palestinian MB affiliate Hamas in Gaza. Uncovered in the HLF trial was a 1991 strategy plan of the MB in the US to overthrow our Constitution and form of government via ‘stealth Jihad’ and replacing it with a Shariah–ruled Caliphate.

The Arab Spring and US Relations with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

President Obama at al-Azhar University Cairo, June, 2009 “A New Beginning” Speech

With the election of President Obama in November 2008 and his Muslim Outreach initiative, exemplified by his Cairo “A New Beginnings Speech” at al Azhar University, the Obama administration extended a welcome to the MB. Investor’s Business Daily noted the ensuing chronology of events, punctuated by the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 that swept the heartland of the Muslim ummah.

2009: The White House invites ISNA’s president to President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies, even though the Justice Department just two years earlier had blacklisted the Brotherhood affiliate as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial — the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history.

2009: Obama delivers his Cairo speech to Muslims, infuriating the Mubarak regime by inviting Brotherhood leaders to attend.

2009: The White House dispatches top presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett to give the keynote speech at ISNA’s annual convention.

2009: Obama appoints a Brotherhood-tied Islamist — Rashad Hussain — as U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which strongly supports the Brotherhood.

2010: Hussain meets with the Brotherhood’s grand mufti in Egypt.

2011: White House sends intelligence czar James Clapper to Capitol Hill to whitewash the Brotherhood’s extremism. Clapper testifies the group is a moderate, “largely secular” organization.

2011: The Brotherhood’s spiritual leader — Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi — is given a hero’s welcome in Tahrir Square, where he raises the banner of jihad. Qaradawi, exiled from Egypt for 30 years, had been calling for “days of rage” before the rioting in Egypt. Before Obama’s Cairo speech, Qaradawi  wrote an open letter to the President arguing [Islamic] terrorism is a direct response to U.S. foreign policy.

2011: The Brotherhood vows to tear up Egypt’s 30-year peace treaty with Israel. Since Mubarak’s fall, it has worked to formally reestablish Cairo’s ties with Hamas and Hezbollah.

2011: Obama gives Mideast speech demanding Israel relinquish land to Palestinians.

2011: White House security adviser gives friendly speech at Washington-area mosque headed by ISNA’s new president.

2011: Justice Department pulls plug on further prosecution of Muslim Brotherhood front groups identified as collaborators in conspiracy to funnel millions to Hamas.

What is not well known is that the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood to the west was facilitated by the CIA during the Cold War Era as part of an anti-Soviet, anti-Communism initiative during the Eisenhower Administration. The creation of an Islamic Center in Munich, involved an ex-Nazi Turkologist, and former Nazi Muslim veterans from the Soviet Muslim satellites which were captured by advancing German forces during WWII in the Caucasus and Crimea. The CIA funded Hasan al Banna’s son-in-law to advance the MB cause via the World Muslim League.  This resulted in an MB beachhead in the US launched from the Munich Islamic Center.

The Muslim Brotherhood Mosque in Munich

In an interview in the New English Review, Sam Solomon had this comment about the functions of a Mosque:

A mosque is a seat of government. A mosque is a school. A mosque is a court. A mosque is a training center. A mosque is a gathering place, or social center. It is not a place of “worship” per se as understood and as practiced in Western societies.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ian Johnson illustrates that conclusively in his investigative book, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, CIA and the Rise of The Muslim Brotherhood in the West. Johnson earned his Pulitzer for a Wall Street Journal series about the Chinese religious group, Fulan Gong.  He has been a long time resident in Germany and until early in 2010, was the Berlin Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal. His book is about how an accidental discovery of a map in a “Londonistan” extremist Muslim bookstore, where he had been a regular customer, triggered five years of research into the MB mosque in Germany that led to his book. Johnson notes the accidental discovery:

Wandering the aisles, I noticed a peculiar map of the world. [. . .]Famous mosques decorated the edge of the map- the Grand mosque in Mecca, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the wondrous Blue Mosque of Istanbul and the Islamic Center of Munich.

Johnson goes on to note:

Almost all of the Brotherhood’s activities in the West originated among the small groups of people who ran the Mosque. Munich was the beach-head from which the brotherhood spread into Western society.

But he notes the cautionary aspect of this tale:

The parallel between the 1950’s and today are striking. [. . .]. Now like a half century ago in Munich, western societies are seeking Muslim allies . . . Munich shows the danger of doing so without careful reflection and scrutiny.

To which we would add the dangers of an intelligence community thoroughly mis-informed about basic Islamic Jihad doctrine. A doctrine that most post WWII administrations in Washington have evaded acknowledging as the primary threat facing this county and the West in the 21st century.

Watch this You Tube Video by author Ian Johnson at the New American Foundation discussing his book, A Mosque in Munich.

Gerhard von Mende, ex-Nazi Turkologist

The mosque in the Munich saga begins with the seminal role played by ex- Nazi Turkologist and antisemite Gerhard von Mende, an ethnic German, born in Riga, Latvia. He held a PhD in Soviet Studies and Economics from Berlin University and ultimately became a full professor there. Von Mende was a talented linguist, spoke Turkish and several Central Asian variants, Arabic, Russian, French, English and even Norwegian, his wife’s native language.  Von Mende also wrote blatant antisemitic tracts. Johnson notes this from a von Mende book, The Peoples of the Soviet Union:

“Bolshevism has given a push to the expansion of those Jewish circles, which reject all alliances except for a blood-defined cliquish confederacy . . . It seems that the main danger of Judaism for other peoples lies in the fact that it is a unit not comparable to a nation, but in its unity it surpasses the unity of some nations.”

Johnson notes that von Mende engaged in such screed because:

“. . . his reason for hating Jews was exactly his reason for embracing Soviet Muslims. He rejected Jews because of their extra-national links, yet he advocated the use of Soviet Muslims precisely because of their lack of allegiance to the Soviet state.”

Von Mende, while at Berlin University, wrote extensively about Muslim irredentism in the Soviet Caucasus, Crimea and Central Asian republics, the latter referred to as Turkistan. Pre-war books by von Mende predicted the rise of independent Muslim states if a “severe shock” to the Soviet Union occurred either by invasion, akin to the failed  German attack  during WWII, or what occurred in the wake of the fall of the Soviet empire and its break up in 1991. When Nazi Germany launched Operation Babarossa, the invasion of Soviet Russia in June, 1941, von Mende joined the Hitler-era Ostministerium – the bureaucracy for administering the occupied territories in the East – to build an initiative aimed at cultivating irredentist Muslim movements in overrun Soviet territory. Von Mende was one of the mid-level bureaucrats who participated in the Wannsee conference in January 1942. The Ostministerium oversaw the implementation of the Final Solution of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews. Despite SS engineered overhauls in 1943 of the Ostministerium, von Mende survived to become overall head of the Foreign Peoples Division, with overall responsibility for dealing with irredentist Muslim communities in Soviet areas overrun by the German army.

In the initial Nazi invasion of Russia hundreds of thousands of Soviet Muslim soldiers were captured. These Muslim Soviet POWs were initially maltreated. A German officer and Uzbek ex-pat living in Germany, Veli Kayum, entered the camps and enlisted their aid in forming fighting military units to combat their former Soviet masters. Kayum ultimately becomes head of a Turkestan National Liberation Council. Another Uzbek and von Mende protégé, Baymirza Hayit, became  liaison to the German High Command. Several hundred thousand former Soviet Muslim POWs joined this effort and formed Waffen SS units akin to those in the Balkans, like the Bosnian Handshar or Dagger Division. One such Caucasian unit had regular German uniforms with a distinctive patch (Biz Alla Bilen – “God With Us”).  These Soviet Muslim cadres in German units were used in the unsuccessful relief of Stalingrad and as special ops units in Operation Zeppelin. That operation involved the parachuting of Soviet Muslims into Russian territory equipped with maps and radios as pathfinders and possible saboteurs of petroleum complexes in Grozny and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Other former Soviet Muslim POWs become functionaries at the Ostministerium in Berlin and were organized into national liberation desks engaged in propaganda broadcasts –a model for post WWII CIA-funded efforts at Radio Liberty. One of those who figures in post-WWII activities with the CIA funded Radio Liberty is Tatar, Garip Sultan, who held the Tatar liberation desk at the Nazi Ostministerium. Sultan was promoted to military governor of the Tartar provisional government by the Nazis. One of von Mende’s initiatives bore significant results when over 20,000 Tatars joined Waffen SS auxiliaries after the Nazis took the Crimea. Von Mende reached out to Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini and asked him to consider taking the post of Mufti for the conquered Crimea. Von Mende wrote Husseini:

“The Islamic world is a whole . . . German action towards Moslems in the east must be such as not to prejudice Germany’s standing among all Islamic Peoples.”

Hitler, when queried about the Waffen SS formation of these Soviet POW Muslims, considered them as “safe.”  As we know from the biography of his munitions chief Albert Speer, Hitler was an admirer of Islam and Jihadism. However the rollback by Soviet forces in 1944 put a stop to that effort.

With the collapse of the Nazi eastern front, von Mende arranged for Muslim units to be transferred to the Western front so as to fall into British and US hands. These units were fighting for the national liberation of their Muslim homelands and attempting to practice their faith. He thought might appeal to the Americans in particular.

HIs thinking may have been the result of an encounter with fabled OSS agent “Ruppert” during the late stages of WWII in Germany when he interviewed von Mende about the anti-Soviet Muslim national liberation activities and contacts at the office he headed in the Ostministerium. Von Mende sought possible refuge by crossing into Switzerland, only to be returned to Germany as the War in Europe came to a close. In October, 1945 Von Mende made contact with the British who appeared to be interested in his Ostministerium network because of the Promethean League members who were anti-Soviet émigrés. Some Muslim units interviewed by US Army CIC evaded return to ultimate imprisonment and death in a Soviet Gulag under the terms of Yalta agreement. As Johnson notes, perhaps upwards of a few thousand of these ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers end up in Displaced Persons Camps near Munich, the largest city in the American sector of post-war Germany. Von Mende, despite his Nazi background, was interviewed by the CIA, given the code name Capriform and received a position at the University of Munich, as cover. The CIA was very interested in inserting agents into Soviet territory. Ultimately, however, the CIA rejected his suggested approach to information gathering and covert propaganda warfare. Nevertheless, von Mende ultimately thrived by running an independent consultancy in Dusseldorf until his death in 1963. That consultancy was supported initially by British Intelligence and later, with the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, by BND Intelligence, Refugee Programs and the Foreign Ministry to monitor Muslim émigrés. Those new émigrés included wartime Caucasian and Central Asian Muslim Waffen SS alumni. Among them were Garip Sultan, Ibrahim Gacoglu, and Nurredin Namangani, an Uzbek Imam of an SS division who survived a term in a Soviet gulag. Some became involved in CIA covert anti–Soviet activities during pilgrimages to Mecca.

Namagani figures prominently in the failed attempt by these ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers to take control of the Munich Mosque as sought by von Mende. His legacy lived on in the CIA-backed Radio Liberty in Munich with its national liberation desk organization based on his Ostministerium experience, replete with members from the ex-Muslim soldiers’ network. Several of these former Nazi Muslim soldiers were employed by CIA operatives at the American Committee of Liberation’s (Amcomlib) Munich–based Radio Liberty.

President Eisenhower with the Princeton Islam Seminar Delegation at the White House, July 1953.   Said Ramadan is the second on the right.

Enter Said Ramadan the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood Founder, Hassan al-Banna

Johnson notes that at one point AMCOMLIB CIA officers Eric Kuniholm and Robert Dreher, the latter based in Munich, provided funding for Dr. Said Ramadan. Ramadan with the connivance of  Haj Amin Al Husseini spread the political Islamic doctrine of the MB via the World Muslim League. The League was co-founded by the Grand Mufti, al Husseini, and Ramadan. The core of the MB doctrine was the restoration of the Caliphate which had ended with establishment of modern Turkey in 1924. The Caliph would enforce strict Islamic Law in the ummah – the community of believers. Ramadan married one of daughters of Egyptian MB founder Hassan al-Banna, who was assassinated in 1949 by Egyptian authorities under King Farouk. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the MB founder, thought Ramadan could “have been the foreign Minister of the MB. He was an eloquent orator and spoke English. He had many contacts overseas.” Ramadan and the Grand Mufti held a meeting in Karachi during the World Muslim Congress in 1951. Ramadan was then elected as a secretary of the Congress. Ramadan was also with the Grand Mufti in the Jerusalem-based Islamic General Congress. Among his colleagues in the MB was Sayyid Qutb, the MB’s principal modern theorist and author of the tract Milestones. Qutb propounded the view that those who disagreed with these Islamic principals were apostates and therefore subject to a death.

Despite viewing the West as degenerate, Said Ramadan viewed Soviet Communism as the foremost enemy of Islam. In this he was following the line laid done by the Grand Mufti. As early as 1946, the US War Department observed that the Mufti had informed his followers that Communism violated Koranic doctrine. That made him an influential Muslim anti-Communist. However, the Mufti was viewed as tainted goods by the CIA given his Nazi-past and sojourn in Berlin as Hitler’s house guest during WWII. Ramadan, on the other hand, had so such baggage. The stage was set for an encounter with President Eisenhower at a 1953 Princeton University Islamic Colloquium. Johnson noted:

Abbott Washburn deputy director of the US Information Agency . . . recalled the high priority that Eisenhower gave to religion in his personal life and in geopolitical strategy.

Washburn sent a note to Eisenhower’s psychological warfare whiz, C.D. Jackson. That [the Princeton Islamic Colloquium] might achieve a hoped for result that the Muslims will be impressed with the moral and spiritual strength of America. These individuals can exert a profound and far-reaching impact upon Muslim thinking. Their long-term influence may well outweigh that of the political leaders of their countries.

As articulated in a confidential memo by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the hope was “this psychological approach might make some important contributions to both short and long term US political objectives in the Moslem area.” The objectives were to “guide and promote the Islamic Renaissance,” meaning the MB. (However, the MB had a political rather than a cultural objective.) That led the US government to reach out to US-Saudi oil conglomerate ARAMCO to underwrite the travel grants for this Princeton program. In July 1953, the US Embassy in Cairo invited Ramadan to the 10-day Princeton program. Ramadan and other participants then traveled to Washington for a photo-op with President Eisenhower in the White House. The CIA subsequently did an analysis of Ramadan at the Princeton conference and concluded that “Ramadan seems to be a fascist, interested in . . . power. He did not display many ideas except for those of the [MB].”

The CIA Encourages Support of the MB in Eisenhower’s Second Administration

Dr. Said Ramadan, Circa 1960

The encounters with Ramadan at Princeton in 1953, despite skepticism, nonetheless encouraged the Eisenhower Administration during his second term to provide support for the MB. This was viewed largely as a response to Soviet influence in Egypt under Nasser. In a letter to Presbyterian Church leader Edward Elson, Eisenhower wrote:

“I assure you that I never fail in any communication with Arab leaders, oral or written, to stress the importance of the spiritual factor in our relationships. I have argued that belief in God should create between them and us the common purpose of opposing atheistic communism.”

The real motivating factor was th possibility of jihad against Communism. Eisenhower spoke about this in a memo summarizing discussions with the CIA covert ops chief, Frank Wisner who figures in Obama’s Arab Spring scenario in 2011, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The memo notes:

The President said . . . we should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect. Mr. Dulles commented that if Arabs have a ‘holy war’ they would want it to be against Israel. The President recalled, however, that [King Ibn] Saud . . . had called on all Arabs to oppose Communism.

The ad hoc Working Group on Islam, including officials from the US Information Agency, State Department and the CIA created an “Outline of Operations.” The major push was to back the “reformists,” meaning the MB, versus so-called “reactionary groups.”

The CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination was the paymaster for this plan. They relied on Dreher the CIA agent at AMCOMLIB in Munch to set up the flow of funds to Muslim émigré groups. The focus in the mid-1950’s was on the series on non-aligned Nation Conferences at Bandung in Indonesia. The CIA used Said Shamil, a wealthy Dagestan Muslim, to badger delegates with petitions against Soviet suppression of Islam. Another émigré accomplice was Rusi Nasar, an Uzbek who had previously gone on  pilgrimages to Mecca for AMCOMLIB and who directly attacked the Soviet delegation at the Second Bandung conference.

But the emphasis was on supporting Ramadan, a major figure in the Muslim ummah.

In the late 1950’s, a West German intelligence report surfaced that accused the US of being involved in securing Ramadan’s Jordanian passport, while Swiss intelligence said he was a US agent.

Ramadan’s base had clearly shifted to Europe. In 1959 he left the Sudan, and made Geneva his permanent home.

Ramadan, with covert CIA help, reached the pinnacle of his influence with the assumption of leadership of the World Muslim League in the 1960’s. In 1963, he gave King Saud the official proposal to found the League and was granted a diplomatic passport as Ambassador-at-large for the League. Ramadan, however, rejected Saudi funds and ended up traveling the world on a Pakistani passport.

Ramadan was always contemptuous of US intelligence. As one report noted:

Ramadan held no hatred for the American people, only amazement at the incompetence of the American intelligence community and its seemingly endless reliance on corruption to get what it wanted.

Ramadan’s Role in Taking Over the Munich Islamic Center for the MB

Ramadan, while continuing to be a person of interest to the US, had problems given his virulently anti-Israel views. He told US diplomats in Rabat, Morocco in 1956 that “Jews must be expelled from Palestine,” a precursor of the MB affiliate Hamas Charter of 1988.

With an attempted 1954 assassination plot by the MB on the life of Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ramadan fled Egypt for Saudi Arabia. He and other MB conspirators were charged with treason and stripped of  their Egyptian citizenship. Jordan gave him a diplomatic passport and even “sent him to West Germany as Ambassador-at-large.” Ramadan eventually received asylum status in Switzerland. Given his new home in Geneva, Ramadan completed his doctorate in Islamic Law (Shariah) at a German University while traveling around the Muslim ummah on behalf of the World Muslim Congress.

On Christmas Day in 1958 he met with the ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers and several Muslim students seeking to establish an Islamic  Center in Munich. According to Muhammad Abdel Karim Grimm, a German convert and Muslim activist, “the students were all well-educated, they had all learned the lessons of Hasan al-Banna.”

Mahdi Akef Supreme leader of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

While first welcomed as a respected figure in the Muslim ummah, Ramadan fomented infighting over who would lead the Islamic Center in Munich. That resulted in the seizure of control from von Mende’s ex-Nazi Muslim soldiers by Ramadan and a group of Muslim students. The students in turn were replaced by a succession of MB figures including Ghaleb Himmat, a Syrian businessman, who headed the Islamic Center for over 30 years from his base in Lugano, Switzerland. He was assisted by Egyptian businessman Youssef Nada who secured funds mainly from Libya (both pre and post Gaddafi takeover) to complete the construction of the Munich Islamic Center which opened in 1973. Mahdi Akef, current supreme leader of the Egyptian MB. headed the Munich Islamic center for four years from 1984 to 1987.

Ramadan’s Assassination Plots in Egypt and Washington  

Ramadan wasn’t finished by any means.

In 1965, Ramadan was once again involved with MB underground teams in Egypt from his base in Geneva plotting to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasser. This time the plot was foiled by a tip from King Hussein’s Jordanian intelligence service. An MB operative in President Nasser’s personal Honor Guard was poised to assassinate him. News of the plot resulted in Egyptian security detaining more than more than 6,000 conspirators. Perhaps in revenge for this attempt by the MB, Nasser had MB theoretician Sayyid Qtub executed in 1966.

Although Ramadan was a neo-Salafist Sunni, that did not, dissuade him from reaching out to Shia Mahdists like Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as they shared many of the same objectives, including the destruction of Israel.  Because of his trips to Washington, DC. Ramadan made the acquaintance of disaffected African American ex-military who had converted to Islam. These Muslim converts engaged in a series of actions against Iranian ex-pat supporters of the late Shah who were planning a counter-coup against the new Islamic regime in Tehran.  Ramadan thought this information might of use to Khomenei who was preparing a revolution in Iran from his base in Paris. The Ayatollah convened his Islamic Council in Paris, whereupon upwards of $5.0 million was provided to recruit African-American converts to his cause. An Iranian naturalized American citizen, Bahram Nahidian, who was a rug merchant and supporter of the Ayatollah in Washington, DC became Ramadan’s recruiter of these converts for operations against supporters of the late Shah. An Afro American Islamic convert, David Belfield, a.k.a. Dawud Salahuddin was recruited for the assassination of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’e, a counter-coup plotter and coup organizer. Tabatabai’e was shot at point blank range by Salahuddin disguised as a US postal worker at Tabatabai’e’s residence in Bethesda, Maryland on July 22, 1980. Salahuddin fled the US to Geneva, where Ramadan gave him temporary refuge. Despite initial objections by the Iranian Embassy in Switzerland, Salahuddin was cleared and fled to Tehran where he obtained sanctuary under Ayatollah Khomenei.

Professor Tariq Ramadan Son of Said Ramadan and Grandson of MB Founder Hasan al-Banna

One of Ramadan’s two sons is controversial professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University in the UK. The younger Ramadan was denied entry to the US by the Bush State Department because of his charitable contributions to Hamas, an MB affiliate. Federal court decisions in 2008 led to Tariq Ramadan being granted a visa.

Said Ramadan died in Switzerland in 1995.

The Munich Islamic Center Spawns MB Affiliates in the US

Youssef Nada, Egyptian Financier of MB in US

The Munich Islamic Center has spawned a number of MB affiliates in America. After a Lugano, Switzerland conference in 1977 at which exiled MB preacher and spiritual figure Egyptian Yusuf Qaradawi attended, they created the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to nurture and spread the neo-Salafist doctrine of Qutb and others. After a 1978 meeting in Saudi Arabia, the MB leaders decided strategically to locate the IIIT in the US. Initially the Institute was opened in Philadelphia, lead by Dr. Ismail Faruqi, who was on the faculty at Temple University. Later the IIIT would move to its present site in Fairfax County, Virginia.


International Institute                     Islamic Society of North America Of Islamic Thought

Two attendees at the Lugano meeting were Dr. Jamal Barzinji and Ahmed Tontonji. Barzinji signed the incorporation papers for the opening of the IIIT in the US in 1980. Another MB functionary was Dr. Hisham Altallib. He became a voting member of the Munich Islamic Center in 1978. The trio of Tontonji, Barzinji and Altallib, after study in Britain, left for the US in the 1960’s. In 1962, Tontonji formed the oldest MB front in the US, the Muslim Student Association. The first MSA National chapter was formed in 1963 at the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which launched ISNA. The National MSA has grown to more than several hundred chapters on high school, college and university campuses throughout the US and Canada. Perhaps the most notorious of which is the Muslim Student Union at U.C. Irvine in Orange County, California whose members were indicted for disrupting the speech of Israeli Ambassador to the US, Hon. Michael Oren in February, 2010.

The Lugano trio of three Iraqis, Totonji, Barzinji and Altallib, settled in Indianapolis. They were joined by benefactor Nada who lived there between 1978 and 1982. They used Saudi money to build a national headquarters on a 42 acre site in the community of Plainfield, Indiana. There they created several MB fronts: the North American Islamic Trust, used to provide Shariah compliant mortgages for mosque construction and expansion, the Muslim Student Association and the largest Muslim advocacy group in the US, the Islamic Society of North America.

As noted in the Militant Islam Monitor the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Northern Virginia chairman Ahmed Tontonji is:

“… an Iraqi-born citizen of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a key target of Operation Green Quest. Totonji was also named as a defendant in a $1 trillion lawsuit filed by more than 600 relatives of people who died in the 9/11 attacks.
He acted as a co-founder and officer of the Saudi-founded/Saudi-funded (and now defunct) SAAR Trust. Additionally, he served as Vice President of the Safa Group and the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT). Officials have linked the non-profit IIIT to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda…”

In Conclusion

What we have learned in this cautionary tale of early US involvement with the MB during the Cold War era,  is how myopic this country’s leaders have been about the international political agenda of the Ikhwan. Hopes to use the MB in a “holy war” against Soviet Communism backfired. Consider too the feckless nature of the CIA during the secret war in Afghanistan with Saudi partners against Soviet forces, the so-called Charlie Wilson’s War of the 1980’s. That effort was spawned by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski under President Carter in 1979 and was another anti-Soviet attempt to use a “holy war,” along with billions from the US, the Saudis and the corrupt Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence service, to weaken the USSR. After the Soviet 40th Army retreated from Afghanistan in 1989, al Qaeda, followers of the MB Islamic doctrine of Qutb, arose to afflict us with global Islamic terror. The Bush Administration while feigning refusal to meet with the MB in Egypt, nevertheless cultivated the successor to the World Muslim League founded by Said Ramadan, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a virtual Caliphate composed of 57 Muslim nations. In 2007, President Bush appointed the first special envoy to the OIC, giving it embassy status in Washington, DC. In the wake of the Arab spring in Egypt, the Obama Administration has reached out to the Egyptian MB that might become the ruling party if, as expected, their new Freedom and Justice Party receives a plurality in the coming elections this fall.

What is that careworn French expression? Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,  “the more things change the more they stay the same.” Said Ramadan must indeed be smiling at these developments. However remote, the enticement of a worldwide Caliphate, long sought by the Muslim Brotherhood, now looms large, threatening the West and the Muslim world, as fanatics regain a concrete goal upon which to fasten their grandiose schemes.

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Egypt security slaps travel ban on Morsi, top Islamists

03   Jul 2013

Egyptian security forces on Wednesday imposed a travel ban on President Mohamed Morsi and several top Islamist allies over their involvement in a prison escape in 2011, security officials said.

Airport officials confirmed to AFP that they had received orders to prevent the leaders — including Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat al-Shater — from travelling abroad


Egypt: 15 of Brotherhood deputy chief’s bodyguards arrested


Brotherhood governor of Ismailiya resigns

01 July, 20:27


(ANSAmed) – CAIRO, JULY 1 – Egyptian security forces on Monday arrested 15 of powerful Muslim Brotherhood deputy chief Khairat el Shater’s bodyguards, security sources said.


Gunfire was heard near el Shater’s home, the sources added.


Also on Monday, Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ismailiya Governor Hassan el Hawi resigned, MENA news agency reported. He had been nominated just weeks ago by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi along with 16 other governors.(ANSAmed).

Mursi not consulted by army, says plans own path

Source: Reuters – Tue, 2 Jul 2013 12:13 AM


CAIRO, July 2 (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi believes a statement by the head of the armed forces setting a deadline for politicians to forge a consensus risks causing confusion and will stick to his own plan for national reconciliation, his office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Noting that Mursi was not consulted in advance by the general who made the announcement, the presidency said it “sees that some of the statements in it carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national environment”.

“The presidency confirms that it is going forward on its path which it planned before to hold comprehensive national reconciliation … in response to the aspirations of the great Egyptian people and regardless of any statements that deepen divisions between citizens,” it said.  (Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Christopher Wilson)


Egypt’s powerful armed forces declare the nation is ‘in danger’ and issue 48-hour ultimatum to President Morsi

Feuding politicians must realise the demands of the people, or the armed forces will announce ‘a road-map for the future’

Heather Saul

Monday, 1 July 2013

In a dramatic statement broadcast on state television, Egypt’s military declared the nation was in danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand that President Mohamed Morsi quit and the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were ransacked.

“If the demands of the people are not realised within the defined period, it will be incumbent upon (the armed forces)… to announce a roadmap for the future,” said the statement from chief-of-staff General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It was followed by patriotic music.

He said the people had expressed their will with unprecedented clarity in the mass demonstrations and wasting more time would only increase the danger of division and violence.

The army said it would oversee the implementation of the roadmap it sought “with the participation of all factions and national parties, including young people”, but it would not get directly involved in politics or government.

Hours before the announcement, protesters in Egypt stormed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters, looting, setting floors alight and ransacking the building. They breached the walls of the six-storey luxury villa in the early hours of Monday morning.

They carted off furniture, files, rugs, blankets, air conditioning units and portraits of President Morsi. One protester emerged with a pistol and handed it over to a policeman outside.

Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows, blackened walls and smoke billowing out of the fortified villa in the Muqatam district in eastern Cairo. A fire was still raging on one floor hours after the building was stormed. One protester tore down the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building’s front wall, while another hoisted Egypt’s red, black and white flag out an upper-storey window and waved it in the air in triumph.

It was not immediately clear whether the Brotherhood supporters holed up inside fled. One witness account spoke of the gunmen running out of the building under the cover of heavy gunfire but another said they had fled through a back door.

Morsi’s critics view the Brotherhood headquarters as the seat of real power in Egypt, consistently claiming that the Islamist group’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and his powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shater, actually call the shots behind Morsi. Morsi and Brotherhood officials have denied this and say they have tried to give opponents a greater voice, only to be spurned.

Organisers of anti-government protests which also saw millions of Egyptians flood the streets over the weekend have since issued Morsi an ultimatum – to step down by Tuesday afternoon or else their campaign would be increased even further.

By Monday afternoon, four cabinet ministers – for tourism, environment, parliament and telecoms – had reportedly resigned, according to an unnamed cabinet official.

The ultimatum issued Monday by Tamarod, the protest organisers, increases pressure on Morsi a day after the opposition’s massive show of force on the streets when millions packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the streets outside the presidential palace and main squares in cities around the country on the anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration.

The main rallies in Cairo were largely peaceful, but violence soon  broke out in several parts of the country, often when marchers came under gunfire, apparently from Islamists. Health Ministry spokesman Yehya Moussa told state television that at least 16 people were killed and more than 780 injured.

Tamarod, Arabic for “Rebel,” issued a statement giving Morsi until 5pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday to step down and pave the way for early presidential elections or else it would bring the crowds back out, march on more palaces and launch what they called “complete civil disobedience”.

Some uniformed policemen marched among protesters in Cairo and Alexandria, chanting “the police and the people are one”, and several senior officers addressed the Tahrir Square crowd. The army has sent reinforcements to bases on the outskirts of Cairo and other cities across the nation. Its chief, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sisisi, had given Morsi and the opposition a week to work out their differences — a deadline that passed yesterday.

Morsi has remained defiant and said that he will not quit, arguing that street protests must not be allowed to remove an elected president, or else the same could happen to future presidents. Yet he has offered no concessions. His Islamist supporters, some of them hard-liners who belong to formerly armed militant groups, have vowed to defend him.

They have already demonstrated a willingness to unleash deadly force when protesters approached their positions, as clashes erupted across multiple cities on Sunday.


U.S. evacuate staff of embassy in Cairo

Египет Каир протест протесты митинг

© Photo: «Voice of Russia»

American authorities have advised their citizens not to visit Egypt, and are evacuating the staff of the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

 Earlier, it was reported that an American citizen – a stringer, who worked for the U.S. news agency – was killed during the riots in Alexandria. More than 160 people were injured in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi.

 One dead in clashes in Egypt’s Alexandria – state media

 One person was killed and more than 70 injured in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria on Friday as clashes raged between supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, state media reported.

 “One citizen died of his injuries from birdshot,” the official MENA news agency said, adding that the 70 injured had been taken to hospital.

 Offices of Egyptian Islamist party torched

 Two offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, were torched on Friday as rival rallies were held across Egypt.

 FJP offices were set alight in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and in Aga in the Nile Delta province of Daqahliya, security officials said.

 Television footage showed plumes of smoke rising from the building in Alexandria as pro- and anti-Morsi protesters clashed.

 The offices in Aga were ransacked and then burned, the officials said.

 A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad al-Haddad, in a Twitter message accused remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party of attacking the offices.

 Tens of thousands of Islamist protesters gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood to defend Morsi’s legitimacy, while thousands of his opponents took to the streets in several parts of the country.

 The unrest comes ahead of mass protests planned against Morsi on Sunday’s first anniversary of his becoming president.

 Clashes erupt in Egypt’s Alexandria

 Violence broke out on Friday between supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria, leaving at least 10 people injured, a security official said.

 “The clashes erupted between the two sides and at least 10 people were injured because of rock throwing,” the official told AFP.

 Television footage showed protesters running in several directions in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria. Gunshots could be heard.

 Police reinforcements have been sent in to disperse the protesters, the official said.

 The clashes come as pro- and anti-Morsi protests were staged around the country, two days ahead of planned mass rallies to call for Morsi to step down.

 Anti-Morsi protesters flock to Cairo’s Tahrir Square

 Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday with numbers swelling, as supporters of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi held a rival rally on the other side of the capital.

 Waving Egyptian flags and chanting “Leave”, the protesters joined hundreds who had camped overnight in Tahrir – the epicentre of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and catapulted Islamist Morsi to the presidency.

 Anti-Morsi protests also took place in several parts of Cairo including the neighbourhoods of Shubra, Sayeda Zeinab and Mohandesseen.

 Outside the capital, opponents of Morsi took to the streets in second city Alexandria, in the Nile Delta city of Mansura and in the canal city of Port Said.

 The protests come ahead of mass anti-Morsi rallies planned for Sunday.

 Morsi’s Islamist supporters, who gathered in Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood, have vowed to remain on the streets to protect the president’s “legitimacy”, raising fears of violence.

 Voice of Russia, AFP

Egypt court rules upper house of parliament elected illegally

Supreme constitutional court ruling expected to widen rift between Egypt’s judiciary and Islamist-dominated government

  • Louisa Loveluck in Cairo
  •,    Sunday 2 June 2013 09.11 EDT
Egyptian security forces with riot shields outside the supreme constitutional court in Cairo

Egyptian security forces outside the supreme constitutional court in Cairo on Sunday. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

Egypt‘s supreme constitutional court (SCC) has ruled that the country’s upper house of parliament and constitution-drafting assembly were elected illegally.

The shura council is the only body in Egypt with legislative powers, following a decision by the SCC, the country’s highest court, in June 2012 to dissolve the first democratically elected parliament.

Judge Maher al-Beheiry said the shura council will continue its activities until a new lower house of parliament is elected. A date has yet to be set for elections, but President Mohamed Morsi has suggested they may take place in October.

The president’s Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice party holds 42% of seats in the shura council, and can carry a majority vote by appealing to other conservative factions in the chamber.

The ruling raises the possibility that shura council legislation may also be deemed unconstitutional. The chamber is debating a number of controversial bills this month, including a draft law that would heavily restrict the funding available to develop a free civil society.

Despite the ruling against the 100-member panel that drafted Egypt’s new constitution in December, the SCC’s verdict does not appear to put the panel’s short-term future at risk, as it is based on provisions laid out in the 2012 document.

The constitution was criticised after it emerged from a hasty all-night session of the Islamist-dominated drafting assembly. Critics argue it fails to protect freedom of expression or religious belief, and institutionalises military trials for civilians.

The SCC also appears to have ruled against arrest powers contained in Egypt’s emergency law, which has been used by successive Egyptian presidents to crack down on opponents.

Regardless of the ruling’s immediate consequences, it is likely to embolden liberal critics of the shura council and constitution, and widen the rift between Egypt’s judiciary and its Islamist-dominated legislature and executive.

The shura council has been considering legislation that would force more than 3,000 judges out of office by lowering their mandatory retirement age. Members of the upper chamber say many judges are Mubarak-era loyalists who are hostile to the country’s Islamist rulers.

There has been speculation that this legislation was being rushed through to pre-empt a judicial ruling such as the SCC’s.

According to Yasser el-Shimy, a Middle East analyst at the International Crisis Group, the ruling is a troubling sign for the relationship between different branches of the Egyptian government.

“It has appeared for a while that the boundaries of each branch – judiciary, legislature or executive – are not clearly defined, despite the introduction of the new constitution,” he said.

Shimy predicted the ruling could undermine the perceived legitimacy of the shura council as it pushes ahead with attempts to neuter the judiciary.

U.S. embassy to Americans: Stay away from Giza’s pyramids

   Posted By Elias Groll    Thursday, May 30, 2013 – 6:50 PM

The American embassy in Cairo has bad news for anyone traveling to Egypt: For now, the pyramids in Giza should be considered off limits — at least if you’re visiting without a trusted guide.

Describing a pattern of increasing lawlessness at the iconic tourist destination outside Cairo, the embassy is warning that some visitors have found their cars surrounded by angry individuals, and that in some cases those individuals have tried to open the doors. Here’s the embassy’s warning about the pyramids in full, according to Graham Harman the associate provost for research administration at the American University in Cairo:

In recent weeks, the U.S. Embassy has become aware of an increasing number of incidents at or near the Giza Pyramids. The majority of these incidents are attributed to over-aggressive vendors, though the degree of aggressiveness in some cases is closer to criminal conduct. Other more serious incidents have been reported involving vehicles nearing the Pyramids, with angry groups of individuals surrounding and pounding on the vehicles – and in some cases attempting to open the vehicle’s doors. While the motive is less clear (possibly related to carriage operators wanting fares), it has severely frightened several visitors. A common theme from many of these reports is the lack of visible security or police in the vicinity of the Pyramids. U.S. citizens should elevate their situational awareness when traveling to the Pyramids, avoid any late evening or night travel, utilize a recommended or trusted guide, and closely guard valuables. Though other tourist locations have not been brought to Embassy attention, these measures are also recommended at all crowded or popular tourist sites.

Writing on his blog, Harman echoes the embassy’s warning. Don’t “even think of going to the Pyramids unless you’re on a large organized bus tour,” he says.

Turbulence at the pyramids is terrible news for Egypt, whose economy is in a tailspin at the moment. Tourism has been a source of strength for the country’s economy in the past, but it has also struggled enormously in the aftermath of the revolution, whose accompanying chaos has understandably scared off many tourists from visiting.

Here’s hoping for a turnaround.


‘Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this’: Emails show the then CIA-chief David Petraeus objected to Obama administration’s version of Benghazi terror attack events

  • The White House on  Wednesday released 100  pages of emails detailing discussion inside the  administration over last year’s  deadly attacks on a U.S. diplomatic  compound in Benghazi, Libya
  • Among the details, the documents show that  then-CIA Director David  Petraeus objected to the final version that U.N.  Ambassador Susan Rice  used five days after the assault
  • The handwritten note came from Petraeus’  deputy. On it, Mike Morell  scratched out items eliminated from the CIA’s early  drafts, including  mentions of al-Qaeda
  • After receiving Morell’s edited version,  Petraeus wrote: ‘Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this’

By  James Nye

PUBLISHED: 18:34 EST, 15 May  2013 |  UPDATED: 21:35  EST, 15 May 2013


Then CIA-Director David Petraeus strongly  objected to the Obama administrations version of events of the terror attack on  the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, newly released emails  show.

Petraeus, who was forced resigned in disgrace  in November after an extra-marital affair became public wanted to see more  detail made public, including a warning issued from the CIA about plans for an  embassy attack.

The documents give a glimpse into the  administration’s message control as officials carefully debated via  email  which details U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice  should highlight  when she went on talk shows five days later to discuss  the September 11 assault  on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

The White House on Wednesday released 99  pages of emails and a single page of hand-written notes made by Petraeus’  deputy, Mike Morell, made after a meeting at the White House the day before then  U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice began giving interviews to the media based on the  agreed ‘talking points.’

Cairo Cable: Then CIA director David Petraeus objected strongly to some of the wording of the White House approved talking points surrounding the terror attack on Benghazi 

Cairo Cable: Then CIA director David Petraeus objected  strongly to some of the wording of the White House approved talking points  surrounding the terror attack on Benghazi

On that page, Morell scratched out from the  CIA’s early drafts of talking points mentions of al-Qaeda, the experience of  fighters in Libya, Islamic extremists and a warning to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo  on the eve of the attacks of calls for a demonstration.

‘No mention of the cable to Cairo, either?’  Petraeus wrote after receiving Morell’s edited version, developed after an  intense back-and-forth among Obama administration officials.

‘Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this,  then.’

Senior administration officials told  reporters Wednesday that Morell made the changes to the talking points because  of his own concerns that they could prejudge an FBI investigation into who was  responsible for the September 11th, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador  Chris Stevens and three other Americans.


The officials said Morell also didn’t think  it was fair to disclose the CIA’s advance warning without giving the State  Department a chance to explain how it responded.

The officials spoke on a condition of  anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the emails on the  record.

Officials said that Morell acted on his own  judgement and not with any pressure coming down from the State  Department.

However, when Petraeus received the final  draft of the media talking points he was dismissive, saying that the reduced  list would not satisfy the House Democrat who had asked for it.

‘This is certainly not what Vice Chairman  Ruppersberger was hoping to get,’ Mr. Petraeus wrote, in reference to  Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on  the House Intelligence Committee.

Disagreement: U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus talks next to U.S. President Barack Obama at an event in the East Room of the White House in this April 28, 2011 file photo 

Disagreement: U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus talks next  to U.S. President Barack Obama at an event in the East Room of the White House  in this April 28, 2011 file photo

A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city  

A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is  seen in flames during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city


A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012 

A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on  fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11,  2012

Chris Stevens died during the terror attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya 

Chris Stevens died during the terror attack at the U.S.  Consulate in Benghazi, Libya

The White House released the emails to the  media after some of them leaked on Friday and seemed to suggest that President  Obama’s national security team may have altered the talking points for political  gain.

How the White House made sense of  the Benghazi attack – a timeline of the controversial emails

  • Friday 14th  September: 4.20 p.m. Stephen W. Preston, the CIA general counsel sent an  email to other agency officials advising them not to disclose information that  could jeopradize the FBI’s own investigation.
  • 6.20 p.m:  Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman emails to remind  officials that Denis mcDonough, the then deputy national security adviser and  now White House chief of staff wants all talking points edited and coordinated  within the State Department.
  • 6.41  p.m: Shwan Turner, spokesman for the director of national intelligence  offers up the suggestion that on September 10th, the CIA ‘notified’ the American  embassy in Cairo, not ‘warned it’ about social media chatter calling for  jihadists to break into the embassy. Morell removed this.
  • 7.16  p.m: Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman said that all talking  points should match what the Obama administration was telling  reporters.
  • 7.39  p.m: She sends White House and intelligence officials an email warning  that the talking points could be ‘abused’ by opposition politicians ‘to beat the  State Department for not paying attention to agency warnings so why do we want  to feed that either?’
  • 7.51 p.m:  The FBI makes minor changes to the talking point draft.
  • 9.24 p.m:  Nuland replies that the latest draft of talking points fails as ‘These  don’t resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership.’
  • 9.52 p.m:  A CIA spokesman emails other agency staff members a note intended for  David Petraeus that warns him that the White House cleared the talking points  too quickly and that the State Department had ‘major concerns’.
  • Saturday  15th September: 11.25 a.m: Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security  adviser changes the United States ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic post’.
  • 2.27  p.m: David Petraeus emails Mike Morell to express his concerns that the  final draft does not go far enough
  • 3.00 p.m:  The final draft is approved and Susan Rice uses it to inform her  appearances on Sunday morning news shows.


And while the White House claims these are  all the correspondence that occurred in the aftermath of the terror attack on  Benghazi, they suggest more of battle between the State Department and the CIA –  rather than the president’s own team.

‘In recent days, these e-mails have been  selectively and inaccurately  read out to the media,’ said a White House  spokesman, Eric Schultz.

Critics have highlighted an email by  then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that expressed concern that  any mention of prior warnings or the involvement of al-Qaeda would give  congressional Republicans ammunition to attack the administration in the weeks  before the presidential election. Fighting terror was one of President Barack  Obama’s re-election strong points.

That email was among those released by the  White House, sent by Nuland on September 14th at 7:39 p.m. to officials in the  White House, State Department and CIA.

‘I have serious concerns about all the parts  highlighted below, and arming members of Congress to start making assertions to  the media that we ourselves are not making because we don’t want to prejudice  the investigation,’ she wrote.

The emails were shared with Congress earlier  this year as a condition for allowing the nomination of John Brennan for CIA  director to move forward.

The general counsel for the national  intelligence director’s office briefed members and staff from the Senate  Intelligence Committee and leadership on the emails on February 15th at a  session in which staff could take notes.

A similar briefing took place March 19 for  the House Intelligence Committee and leadership staff

An interim report last month from the  Republicans on five House committees criticized the Obama administration and  mentioned the emails, but the issue exploded last Friday when new details  emerged.

Republicans on the House Oversight  and  Government Reform Committee read some of the emails aloud last  Wednesday at a  hearing with State Department officials.

The next day, House Speaker John Boehner,  R-Ohio, called on the White House to release the emails.

Congressional officials selectively shared  parts of the emails, and new revelations  emerged Friday that showed State  Department and other administration  officials pressing for references to terror  groups and prior warnings be deleted, expressing concerns about the political  implications.

The White House released the full set of  emails sent to Congress under the  pressure in hopes of putting an end to the  controversy that has dogged  the administration for months.

Scandal: Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, pictured, conducted an affair from November 2011 until July 2012 - forcing his resignation when details were made public


Scandal: Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, pictured,  conducted an affair from November 2011 until July 2012 – forcing his resignation  when details were made public

David Petraeus sent an email at 2:27 p.m. saying he¿d prefer not to even use the agreed talking points in that form and made reference to the lack of mention of the infamous Cairo cable too 

David Petraeus sent an email at 2:27 p.m. saying he¿d  prefer not to even use the agreed talking points in that form and made reference  to the lack of mention of the infamous Cairo cable too

The White House on Wednesday released 99 pages of emails and a single page of hand-written notes made by Petraeus' deputy, Mike Morell - Morell scratched out from the CIA's early drafts of talking points mentions of al-Qaeda 

The White House on Wednesday released 99 pages of emails  and a single page of hand-written notes made by Petraeus’ deputy, Mike Morell –  Morell scratched out from the CIA’s early drafts of talking points mentions of  al-Qaeda

The White House says congressional  Republicans have misrepresented some of them.

The emails released by the White House were  partially blacked out, including to remove names of senders and recipients who  are career employees at the CIA and elsewhere.

Critics have highlighted an email by then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland Critics have highlighted an email by then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland

Critics have highlighted an email by then-State  Department spokeswoman  Victoria Nuland that expressed concern that any mention  of prior  warnings or the involvement of al-Qaida would give congressional  Republicans ammunition to attack the administration


The controversial talking points were used by Susan Rice in her appearance on five news shows on Sunday, Sept. 16, and also sent to Congress 

The controversial talking points were used by Susan Rice  in her appearance on five news shows on Sunday, Sept. 16, and also sent to  Congress

The names were replaced with references to  the office where they worked.

The talking points were used by Rice in her  appearance on five news shows on Sunday, Sept. 16, and also sent to Congress.

An official with the CIA’s office of  congressional affairs whose name was blacked out sent the final version to  Petraeus on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 12:51 p.m.

‘As mentioned last night, State had voiced  strong concerns with the original text due to the criminal investigation,’ the  official wrote.

Petraeus responded at 2:27 saying he’d prefer  not to even use them in that form.

But he said the decision was up to the White  House’s national security staff.

‘NSS’s call, to be sure; however, this is  certainly not what Vice Chairman (Dutch) Ruppersberger was hoping to get for  unclas use. Regardless, thanks for the great work.’

Ranking Intelligence Committee member US Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger(D-MD) briefs the media after leaving the the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Benghazi with testimony by former US General David Patreaus last November  

Ranking Intelligence Committee member US Rep. Dutch  Ruppersberger(D-MD) briefs the media after leaving the the House Intelligence  Committee hearing on Benghazi with testimony by former US General David Patreaus  last November


Ruppersberger is the top Democrat on the  House Intelligence Committee.

At a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday, Attorney  General Eric Holder said  there has been ‘very, very substantial progress’ in  the investigation  into who was responsible for the twin nighttime attacks in  Benghazi.

Earlier this month, the FBI said it was  seeking information on three people who were on the grounds of the diplomatic  mission when it was attacked.

The FBI posted photographs of the three  people and said they may be able to provide information to help in the  investigation.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top  Democrat on the House Armed  Services Committee, said Wednesday’s release of the  emails was a ‘wise  choice’


There was little in the roughly 100 pages of  emails about Rice’s ‘talking points’ that had not been leaked  previously.

While awkward for the White House, releasing  the  emails was an effort to counter complaints from Republicans and the  media  that President Barack Obama’s administration is secretive.

They included an email confirming perhaps the  most damaging charge that  administration officials removed mention from Rice’s  talking points that the CIA had warned of an al Qaeda threat in the area of the  eastern  Libyan city before the attacks.

In the Benghazi emails, then-State Department  spokeswoman  Victoria Nuland raised concerns about references to intelligence  about  the threat from militants in eastern Libya.

Nuland wrote that she had ‘serious concerns’  that the talking  points would provide members of Congress with material to  ‘beat the  State Department for not paying attention to (Central Intelligence)  Agency warnings’ about threats in the region.

At a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said there has been  

At a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday, Attorney General  Eric Holder said there has been “very, very substantial progress” in the  investigation into who was responsible for the twin nighttime attacks in  Benghazi


It was not clear who she was referring to but  Republicans have tried to link former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a  possible Democratic candidate for president in 2016, to the controversy over  Benghazi.

‘The seemingly political nature of the State  Department’s concerns raises questions about the motivations behind these  changes and who at the State Department was seeking them,’ said Brendan Buck, a  spokesman for Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John  Boehner.

Republicans say the talking points were an  attempt to portray the attacks as arising from a spontaneous protest, and not an  organized militant assault, so as to protect Obama in last year’s presidential  campaign from any charges that he was weak on fighting terrorism.

The White House vehemently denies any  cover-up and emphasizes that the controversy over the talking points focuses on  intelligence that eventually evolved. The emails, officials said, showed a  normal back and forth between government agencies on a fluid national security  event.

‘Collectively these emails make clear that  the interagency process, including the White House’s interactions, were focused  on providing the facts as we knew them based on the best information available  at the time and protecting an ongoing investigation,’ White House spokesman Eric  Schultz said.

Officials also suggested that Nuland was not  the only one with concerns about the original talking points.
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Christian teacher to be tried in Egypt for insulting Islam


Christian teacher to be tried in Egypt for insulting Islam

Egypt’s prosecutors on Tuesday referred a Christian schoolteacher to trial on charges of insulting Islam, judicial sources said.

Dimiana Abdel-Nour, who was arrested on Wednesday, was accused by her Muslim students’ parents of insulting Islam and comparing it to Christianity by saying that the late Coptic Pope Shenouda was better than the Prophet Mohammad.

Alongside the political and economic turmoil Egypt has endured since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, tensions have risen between Muslims and Christians, especially since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in June.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people and have complained that the authorities have failed to protect them since Mubarak was ousted, giving radical Islamists a free hand.

Last year, an Egyptian court sentenced a 17-year-old Christian to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet, triggering sectarian violence.

At least three people were killed and more than 80 injured in clashes last month between Christians and Muslims at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo after a funeral service for four Christians killed in sectarian violence with Muslims.

Abdel-Nour will appear in a court in Luxor next Tuesday, a judicial source said. She was free on bail of 20 thousand Egyptian pounds ($2,900) pending her trial.


Egyptian students protest mass food poisoning at university

Source: Reuters – Mon, 29 Apr 2013 10:39 PM

Author: Reuters


CAIRO, April 29 (Reuters) – Hundreds of students from Egypt’s top Islamic university protested on Monday to demand investigation and punishment of those responsible for a second mass food poisoning on campus this month.

Ninety Al-Azhar University students were hospitalized on Monday after eating at a campus cafeteria, the health ministry said. Earlier this month, some 460 Al-Azhar University students were hospitalised following a mass food poisoning on campus.

Students said the incident on Monday was a sign of neglect by officials at Al-Azhar, a thousand-year-old mosque and university in Cairo that draws students from across the Sunni world.

An initial investigation of the first food poisoning incident by the toxicology unit of Ain Shams hospital in Cairo blamed contaminated food.

“Those of you who are silent about this, why are you silent?” the students chanted on Monday. They blocked a road in front of university in the Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City.

Protests on issues ranging from national politics to local grievances have become more common in Egypt since the overthrow two years ago of autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

Ibrahim El-Hodhod, the deputy-president for educational and student affairs at Al-Azhar, said a committee had been formed to investigate the incident, state news agency MENA reported. El-Hodhod visited the hospitalised students on Monday, MENA said.

An emergency meeting by the university’s management would be held on Tuesday to look into the case, MENA said.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil visited the hospitalized students on Monday and ordered the interior ministry to immediately investigate the mass food poisoning, according to a statement from his office on Monday evening.  (Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed and Ali Abdelatti; Editing by Paul Simao) = hpbreaking

Coptic Christians under siege as mob attacks Cairo cathedral

Alastair Beach sees gunfire exchanged as armed gang descends on funeral of five  Christians killed in recent sectarian clashes

Alastair Beach

Monday, 8 April 2013

Hundreds of Christians were under siege inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral last night as security forces and local residents, some armed with handguns, launched a prolonged and unprecedented attack on the seat of Egypt’s ancient Church.

At least one person was killed and at least 84 injured as Christians inside the walled St Mark’s cathedral compound came under a frenzied assault from their assailants in the main road outside.

The fighting erupted after a mass funeral for five Copts who were killed during violent clashes in a north Egyptian town on Saturday. A Muslim man also died in the clashes, which happened after an Islamic institute was daubed with offensive graffiti.

Following yesterday’s service thousands of Christians poured out on to the street and began chanting slogans against Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian President and long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Late last night President Morsi issued a statement in which he said he had spoken to Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic church, and had given orders for the cathedral and citizens to be guarded. He said protecting the lives of Muslims and Christians was a state responsibility and added: “I consider any attack on the cathedral as an attack on me, personally.”

The man killed in the clashes outside the cathedral was named by the state news agency, MENA, as Mahrous Hana Tadros, a Christian name. MENA said 11 of the 84 injured were police officers.

Earlier, witnesses described how they were attacked by locals from Abbasiyya, the north-east Cairo neighbourhood where the cathedral is located. After being hit by rocks from the roofs of nearby buildings, the mourners were reportedly forced back into the cathedral compound.

Wael Eskandar, an Egyptian blogger who attended the funeral, said he saw people being showered with broken bottles from the roof of an apartment block opposite. After being attacked, he said, the people “started racing out of the side street and destroying the nearby cars”. He added that he was not sure if those attacking the vehicles were mourners. As night fell the streets around St Mark’s were echoing to the sound of gunshots and exploding tear gas canisters. Young men on either side of the 18ft-high compound wall exchanged a continuous hail of rocks and broken masonry. Others hurled Molotov cocktails and let off fireworks.

The security forces positioned outside the cathedral launched volley after volley of tear gas into the compound. Some of the thousands of onlookers gathered in the road cheered as the canisters rocketed towards Christians perched on the walls overlooking the main street.

One young man, his right hand clasped around a shiny steel handgun, clambered on top of a petrol station alongside the cathedral and blasted a single round at those trapped inside. He was helped down by a friend who was also carrying a handgun, before they both jogged off through a nearby line of riot police who had been watching the young man take aim. Soon afterwards there was a flash from inside the compound as a young man stepped up on to the perimeter wall and fired a weapon towards the thousands of onlookers below.

A second later a number of people recoiled as they were hit by birdshot. Handguns and other weapons, many of them homemade, are becoming a more common feature of the violence which has regularly convulsed the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

“Only God can save us from what is happening right now,” said Mina Zakaraya, a 25-year-old Coptic seminarian who was positioned inside the compound. At the cathedral’s rear entrance, panicked young men ushering people inside demanded to see the cross which most Copts have tattooed on their wrist.

“I’m worried about the situation in Egypt,” said Makram Girgis as he sat on the steps leading up to the imposing cathedral building.

“The Muslim Brotherhood and extremist groups here want us to leave. They don’t accept Copts. But this was our country, ever since the time of the pharaohs.”

One dead in clashes after funeral of Egypt Coptic Christians

07  Apr  2013

One person died Sunday in clashes at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral after funeral prayers for four Christians during which angry Copts chanted against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, an official said.

Fighting between Christians and Muslims meanwhile erupted anew late Sunday in a town north of Cairo where sectarian violence had killed five people two days before, 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.

Egyptian Coptic Christian women mourn during the funeral service for four Christians killed in sectarian clashes, at al-Abbassiya Cathedral in Cairo on April 7, 2013. One person was killed on Sunday in clashes outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral following the funeral prayers, an Egyptian health ministry official told AFP.

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 which has long complained of discrimination and marginalisation.

Black-clad riot police intervened, firing tear gas at the cathedral, witnesses said, but not before one person had been killed.

“There is one fatality in (Cairo’s) Demerdash hospital,” health ministry official Ahmed al-Ansari told AFP.

Hani Sobhi, a young Copt, explained that live television coverage of the funeral service had been the spark for the latest violence.

Egyptian Coptic Christians carry the coffin of one of the four Christians killed in sectarian clashes in Al-Khusus earlier this week, during the funeral at al-Abbassiya Cathedral in Cairo on April 7, 2013.

“Inside the cathedral we chanted ‘down with the Brotherhood rule’ and that was aired live on television. At the exit (of the cathedral) the people were ready and waiting for us,” he said.

There were scenes of chaos outside the cathedral in the central Cairo neighbourhood of Abbassiya where Coptic bishops had been calling for peace and calm after the killing of the Christians on Friday.

Loud blasts could be heard, as clouds of smoke rose up into the sky and people ran in several directions.

Rows of Abbassiya residents hurled rocks and bottles at the cathedral and were met in kind from people 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.

Egyptian riot police stand by during sectarian clashes outside the Egyptian Coptic Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassiya neighbourhood on April 7, 2013.

“There were tensions with police and the residents of the area were hostile to us and sided with the police,” another Christian, Sami Adli, told AFP.

“They were running after Christians. Police fired tear gas at the seat of the Pope. What kind of state allows such a thing? The Copts won’t let this pass,” said a very emotional Adli.

“The government wants this. The only solution is for the army to intervene,” said a man in his 50s who did not give his name.

A group of volunteers arrived at the church with medical supplies, an AFP reporter said.

In a statement, the interior ministry said “a number of mourners began to damage cars in the area which led to confrontations with residents of the area.”

Sunday’s service was being held for four Christians killed in sectarian clashes on Friday. One Muslim was also killed in the violence which flared in Al-Khusus, a poor area in Qalyubia governorate, after a Muslim in his 50s objected to children drawing a swastika on a religious institute.

The man insulted Christians and the cross, and an argument broke out with a young Christian man who was passing by, escalating into a gunbattle between Muslims and Christians in which assault rifles were used.

The incident sparked rioting during which a church was partially burnt and a Christian’s home torched, while a pharmacy owned by a Copt was ransacked.

Clashes in the town erupted again on Sunday evening, police said.

“There are clashes between Christians and Muslims, and some youths are also clashing with police,” a police officer in Al-Khusus told AFP by telephone.

Christians form between six and 10 percent of Egypt’s population of nearly 83 million people.

The country’s Coptic Christians and Muslims have clashed on several occasions since the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Cairo cathedral clashes: 1 dead, 29 injured

Cairo cathedral clashes: 1 dead, 29 injured

Photo: AFP

One person was killed on Sunday in clashes outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral following funeral prayers for four Christians killed in sectarian violence, an Egyptian health ministry official said.


 “There is one fatality in (Cairo’s) Demerdash hospital,” Ahmed al-Ansari said.

 Cairo: Clashes after funeral of Coptic Christians

 Clashes broke out on Sunday outside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral after the funeral prayers for four Christians killed in sectarian clashes, witnesses said.

 They said the mourners who were chanting against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were pelted with stones as they came out of the cathedral.

 Voice of Russia, AFP


Egypt’s fundamentalist rulers crush lives, hopes of women: Age of marriage to be lowered from 18 to 13 maybe 9

The good old days?: An Egyptian woman holds a poster of ousted President Hosni Mubarak during a demonstration outside the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo on Monday.  The court says it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case launched by supporters of Mubarak who challenged the legality of his removal from power two years ago.
The good old days?: An Egyptian woman holds a poster of ousted President Hosni Mubarak during a demonstration outside the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo on Monday.  The court says it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case launched by supporters of Mubarak who challenged the legality of his removal from power two years ago. | AP

Women of all classes alienated in wake of Arab Spring protests

by Tracy Mcveigh

The Observer

  • Online: Apr 03, 2013
  • Print: Apr 03, 2013
  • Last Modfied: Apr 03, 2013
CAIRO – The ambush came from the left, from a side street which led up the hill to Mokattam Mosque. A rush of hundreds of men running down on the march of antigovernment protesters, bringing a sudden clatter of rocks landing all around, the crack of shots fired and the whizz of tear gas canisters. Sticks, stones and metal bars flew through the smoke in both directions, and screaming women and men ran back the way they came.Dozens of manned police vans remained parked about a kilometer away. The only sirens came from ambulances that drove through the crowds and past burning vehicles to take some 40 injured people to a hospital.One angry woman with a bleeding mouth, eyes streaming from the tear gas, pulled off her headscarf and stood yelling at the other side, the supporters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood. “You are not Islam! You are not Egypt! Where is my freedom?”

So go most Fridays in Cairo over the past few weeks as liberal Egyptians have shown their virulent opposition to President Mohammed Morsi as he has awarded himself new powers and pushed through a deeply contentious new constitution. Several buildings of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group behind Morsi, have been burned. In post-Arab Spring Egypt, the revolution continues. But it’s women of all classes who have found themselves most alienated — written out of the jostling for power and subjected to a skyrocketing number of sex assaults, rapes and harassment.

Women who stood shoulder to shoulder with men during the 2011 Tahrir Square protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak found their position in society undermined almost immediately. The parliamentary quota for women was removed without debate and a promised female vice president failed to materialize, amid what political commentator Moushira Khattab called “a radical antifeminist sentiment.” Morsi threatened but stopped short of decriminalizing Egypt’s practice of female genital mutilation, carried out on almost three-quarters of Egyptian girls, making it clear he would not tackle an issue he called “a family matter.”

The new constitution has swept away recognition of women’s rights and left the door open to the legalization of perhaps Egypt’s most crippling social issue — underage marriage. Draft legislation that will allow the legal age of marriage to be lowered from 18 to 13 has been drawn up while clerics within the Muslim Brotherhood have indicated that marriage at the age of 9 for girls is acceptable.

“They see women as, No. 1, objects of sex and, No. 2, to clean their floors. This is what the Egyptian ‘brotherhood’ is all about,” said Fatma, 24, an engineering graduate. The women keep close together, arms linked and eyes alert for the men flying down the side of the demonstration on motorcycles grabbing and screaming at females. “They want to marry us at 9 years old. Are these really the kind of men we want to run our country? Pedophiles?”

Political progress has been slow, with parliamentary elections scheduled for April now postponed with no new date. Frustrations have built.

“They are like a pack of dogs, tearing out the weakest first, raping and harassing the women and the girls, getting rid of them, and then fighting among themselves to be pack leader,” said Aya Kadry, 62.

Hundreds of tower blocks are being built around Cairo, extending the Arab world’s largest city leg by leg into the desert. This is where the vast majority of Egypt’s women are already living the constrained lives that the educated and middle-classes fear will be imposed by a radical government. Child marriage is common, the norm among the poor. Doctors are bribed to sign documents asserting a 14-year-old is 18 but most people don’t have the money so marriages go ahead without registration. Underage girls then have children who, essentially illegal, cannot have their births registered. Without papers those children cannot attend school, encasing a whole new generation in poverty.

In the poor district of Ezbet Khairallah 10 women are sitting around a metal cash box, holding the weekly meeting of their savings and loans group. Set up by the charity Plan Egypt, it encourages women to squirrel away a few coins when they can and to discuss problems.

“We do not really have time to talk to our neighbors, there is a great burden of things to do in the home and for some of us our husbands do not like us to go out of doors, although we have convinced them we should meet for this social fund because it will help all the family,” said Seham Ahmed, 38, who is taking the opportunity to show the group how to make a basic liquid soap.

“I was married at 14,” she said, thumping a stick round a battered bucket and most of the women around her nod. “Pulled out of school one day and married that night. I hope my daughters can wait a little while but it’s quite difficult for girls who are not married at an early age to find a good man later and there is a lot of pressure. And fathers want girls gone because it is one mouth less to feed.”

Asmaa Mohamed Fawzy is 21. She was engaged but her family allowed her to break it off when her best friend died in childbirth aged 16. “I liked having the ring but I was only 15 and didn’t know any better. When Aya died it was a miserable tragedy and I’m very lucky that my mum agreed with me I should not get married. I get teased and bullied. They shout I am not pretty enough, why am I the ugly one, but I do not want to die or to have children who cannot go to school. It is probably too late for me now and I’m sad I won’t have children.”

Her mother, Naghzaky Abdalla, 47, also endures being shunned by her neighbors. “When her friend died I, too, made up my mind. We only have one so we can afford to protect her. A neighbor had died at 15 of bleeding: the doctors wouldn’t treat her because she was married illegally and they don’t want to get involved. The girls’ bodies are not ready for childbirth and they are not ready for sexual relations, which makes their husbands impatient with them,” she said. “Three girls in our street stay indoors now for ever because their husbands divorced them. If they cannot prove they were married and they are not virgins then they cannot get married again so they are shunned.”

Gihan, 45, a community activist with strong views, is fervently for the lowering the age of marriage to 13 in law. “We must do this,” she said. “Because all the unregistered children who cannot go to school need to be helped. These girls are denied health care, their children are denied a future. They have already decreased the legal age of work from 14 to 12 and I think this age too should be lowered. When Mubarak listened to international pressure and raised the age to 18 it changed nothing here. If you decree a legal age then you simply criminalize and marginalize. Men leave their wives before they turn 18 and their children are seen as being born into prostitution. We will raise awareness and stop child marriage this way.”

The stench of human waste coming from the river in another poor Cairo district, Manial Sheiha, is overpowering.

Nawal Rashid opens her door but remains on one side of the deep concrete threshold that she cannot cross — or allow visitors to cross — without her 70-year-old husband’s permission. He is at work. Her 3-year-old son plays behind her and she insists she married at 18 — which makes her 21 now — but her neighbors all say she was 14. “I accepted the older man to help my family as there were four other children and my parents are very poor. I am quite content and happy to have sacrificed myself for my family.”

Next door is Etab, 19. She has two children and has returned to stay with her despairing mother Nearnat, 42, her aging father and her three siblings.

“We thought by marrying her we would get her a better life,” said Nearnat. “Now she is divorced because he was a bad man. She refuses to get married again because then her ex-husband would take the children and now her younger sister is begging me not to go ahead with her marriage. I regret that my daughter was married young because now if she leaves the house her reputation will be ruined. The community all tease me.”

Outside in the street a group of young men explain why they want to marry young brides. “Children need to have their rights but also you want to marry a girl who is much younger so she will stay young and beautiful when you are old. Also, you can control her better and make sure she is not one of these girls who goes around wanting to be harassed,” said Abdel Rahman, 17.

His friend, Youssef, 20, agrees. “There are many girls who just want to be harassed, walking around in the streets with their eyes uncovered,” Youssef said.

Their views are not a surprise to Mona Hussein Wasef, 26, who works for Plan Egypt in Cairo.

“For 18 days we were in Tahrir Square, side by side, men and women, educated and uneducated, rich and poor. Never have I felt so much solidarity. I was Egypt, we were all Egypt, fighting for freedom, shoulder to shoulder,” she said.

“Now we have never been so far apart, men and women. In such a short time, such a gulf,” she said. “Now we are fighting just for the right to walk down the street without being assaulted. It is so hard, so shocking. To see the rights we had being ripped away and lost in the power struggle. To see us go backwards.”

Egyptian mosque turned into house of torture for Christians



Egyptian mosque turned into house of torture for Christians

Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into  torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling  Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear  will only get worse.

Such stories have become increasingly common as tensions between Egypt’s  Muslims and Copts mount, but in the latest case, mosque officials corroborated  much of the account and even filed a police report. Demonstrators, some of whom  were Muslim, say they were taken from the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in  suburban Cairo to a nearby mosque on Friday and tortured for hours by hard-line  militia members.

“They accompanied me to one of the mosques in the area and I discovered the  mosque was being used to imprison demonstrators and torture them,” Amir Ayad, a  Coptic who has been a vocal protester against the regime, told MidEast Christian News from a  hospital bed.

Ayad said he was beaten for hours with sticks before being left for dead on a  roadside. Amir’s brother, Ezzat Ayad, said he received an anonymous phone call  at 3 a.m. Saturday, with the caller saying his brother had been found near death  and had been taken to the ambulance.

“He underwent radiation treatment that proved that he suffered a fracture in  the bottom of his skull, a fracture in his left arm, a bleeding in the right  eye, and birdshot injuries,” Ezzat Ayad said.

Officials at the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque said radical militias stormed the  building, in the Cairo suburb of Moqattam, after Friday prayers.

“[We] deeply regret what has happened and apologize to the people of  Moqattam,” mosque officials said in a statement,  adding that “they had lost control over the mosque at the time.” The  statement also “denounced and condemned the violence and involving mosques in  political conflicts.”

The latest crackdown is further confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood’s  most hard-line elements are consolidating control in Egypt, according to Shaul  Gabbay, a professor of international studies at the University of Denver.

“It will only get worse,” said Gabbay. “This has been a longstanding  conflict, but now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in power, it is moving forward  to implement its ideology – which is that Christians are supposed to become  Muslims.

“There is no longer anything to hold them back,” he continued. “The  floodgates are open.”

Gabbay said the violent militias that allegedly tortured Ayad work  hand-in-hand with police and may, in fact, be beyond the control of increasingly  unpopular President Mohammed Morsi. While he may benefit from roving bands that  attack demonstrators, they also undermine his claim of being a legitimate  leader.

“Egyptian society is split over the Morsi regime, and it is not just a  Coptic-Muslim split,” Gabbay said. “The less conservative elements of the Muslim  society are increasingly uneasy with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Christian Copts  are an easy target, but they are not alone in their mistrust of the  Brotherhood.”

Experts agreed that the Copts, who comprise roughly 10 percent of the  nation’s 83 million people, are not alone in their opposition to the Muslim  Brotherhood, which took power in hotly contested elections following the 2011  ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak. Moderate Muslims and secular  liberals are increasingly uncomfortable with the Islamization of the government.

Sheikh Ahmed Saber, a well-known imam and official in Egypt’s Ministry of  Endowments, has blasted Morsi’s justice ministry for allowing persecution of  Copts.

“All Egyptians in general are oppressed, but Christians are particularly  oppressed, because they suffer double of what others suffer,” Saber told  MCN


Mursi warning stirs fears in Egypt opposition

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 16:32 GMT


* Mursi warns of steps to “protect this nation”

* Stirs fears among opposition of a crackdown

* Warning follows protest outside Brotherhood HQ

By Tom Perry

CAIRO, March 24 (Reuters) – Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi threatened on Sunday to take unspecified steps to “protect this nation” after violent demonstrations against his Muslim Brotherhood, using vague but severe language that the opposition said heralded a crackdown.

In remarks following clashes outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on Friday, Mursi warned that “necessary measures” would be taken against any politicians shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.

“If I am forced to do what is required to protect this nation, then I will do it. And I fear that I might be on the verge of doing it,” Mursi said in a statement. He did not elaborate.

Mursi has faced increasing anger since the Brotherhood propelled him to power in a June election, and several spates of protest have turned into violent riots.

Mursi’s opponents accuse him and the Brotherhood of seeking to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak era and resorting to undemocratic police powers two years after autocrat Mubarak was brought down by popular protests.

The brotherhood accuses its secularist opponents of stirring trouble to seize power they could not win at the ballot box, and says the relentless civil unrest is wrecking efforts to salvage an economy driven to its knees by uncertainty.

“They are very scary comments,” said Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front (NSF), an alliance of non-Islamist parties formed late last year to oppose Mursi.

“I can see language that is heading towards taking some suppressive measures,” he added.

Dozens of people were hurt on Friday when several thousand supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood fought near the Islamist group’s headquarters.


Dawoud said the NSF was not behind those protests, but added that some of its members may have decided to take part.

Mursi said everyone had the right to peaceful protest, but “what is happening now has nothing to do with the revolution”.

“I urge all political forces not to provide any political cover for acts of violence and rioting. I will not be happy if investigations prove the guilt of some politicians,” he said in the remarks, which were published on his Twitter account.

“Some are using the media to incite violence and those whose involvement is proven will not escape punishment,” he added. “Anyone who takes part in incitement is a partner in the crime.”

He also spoke of attempts to portray the state as weak but said these had failed: “The apparatus of the state are recovering and can deter any law breaker,” he added.

Exactly what new steps Mursi is considering became the subject of speculation.

In late January, he declared a state of emergency rule in three cities near the Suez Canal to combat a wave of violence there. A declaration of a state of emergency elsewhere is unlikely, said Yasser El-Shimy, Egypt analyst for the International Crisis Group, adding arrests were more probable.

“My impression is that Mursi and the Brotherhood in general have had it with the violence that is taking place and they are running out of patience,” he said.

“This is definitely the strictest he has spoken regarding the rioting,” he added. “Now Mursi feels there is enough public opinion on his side to justify taking stricter measures.”

One recent source of tension between Mursi and the opposition was his call for parliamentary elections based on a controversial election law. The vote, due to begin in late April, has been postponed by a court ruling and it is now not clear when it will happen.

Mursi’s political supporters and opponents signed a document agreeing to renounce violence following riots in late January.

Mursi’s opponents say they are committed to peaceful protest and have also accused the Brotherhood of using violence and inciting tension in the street. The Brotherhood says the opposition has done little to rein in its followers.  (Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy; Editing by Peter Graff)

Heavy fighting in front of Cairo’s Muslim Brotherhood office

Mar 17, 2013 01:28 Moscow Time

египет протест египет беспорядки египет каир

Photo: EPA

Violent clashes between police and a group of protesters broke out Saturday night at the headquarters of the “Muslim Brotherhood” in Cairo.

According to local media, the riots were sparked by an attack of activists of the Islamic association on journalists.

Opponents of the “Brotherhood” threw Molotov cocktails at a police patrol on duty at the HQ, with the police retaliating with tear gas. However, their efforts to contain the crowd failed, and the fire engine was unable to reach the blazing vehicle.

Egypt has recently witnessed increasingly frequent attacks on local media, which authorities accuse of distorting reality. Journalists are accused of “emphasizing the negative news, while ignoring real achievements of the revolution.”

Voice of Russia, TASS


Egyptian opposition refuses to meet with Kerry: Tells Kerry ” democracy is not just slogans but rules for all “

Sabbahi compares U.S. support for FJP to that of Mubarak

01 March, 19:27

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO, MARCH 1 – Two leaders of Egypt’s opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), Hamdeen Sabbahi and Mohamed ElBaradei, will not be attending the meeting with U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry. The head of U.S. foreign policy will be arriving in Cairo on Saturday evening for a two-day visit.     The announcement was made by Sabbahi, former presidential candidate and leader of the Nasserist left, in an interview with the television network ONTV. ”We will make our decisions with our own minds, and Kerry must understand that our decision to boycott the elections is exceptional, since democracy is not just slogans but rules for all.” Sabbahi said Kerry should address ”the unjust power that barricades itself behind an unbalanced constitution and young people exposed to bullets”.
He urged the U.S., which ”supports democracy, to address the totalitarian regime and not the opposition”. ”Washington is satisfied as far as its interests go with the Muslim Brotherhood in power, since there is no difference between the power of Mubarak and that of Morsi,” he stressed.
During his visit, Kerry will meet with Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Sisi, Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby and representatives of Egyptian civil society. (ANSamed).

2 dead, hundreds injured in Egypt clashes

Mar 4, 2013 02:06 Moscow Time

2 dead, hundreds injured in Egypt clashes

Photo: EPA

Two police officers died and more than 400 people were injured in Sunday’s clashes in Port Said, Egypt, when hundreds of local residents protested the authorities’ decision to move to another prison 39 people accused of involvement in a riot by football fans that flared up at a local stadium a year ago when more than 70 fans from Cairo were either killed or died in the ensuing stampede.

In January 21 people, mostly local football fans, were sentenced to death. The decision sparked a wave of violence in Port Said where some 50 people died in two days of rioting.

This time round a crowd of protesters tried to storm into the local police headquarters, but were held back by police and army units.

Voice of Russia, TASS

Missile shipment intercepted in Egypt

Feb 28, 2013 01:00 Moscow Time
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синайский полуостров египет блокпост

A large shipment of anti-tank missiles was intercepted on Wednesday by Egyptian Security Forces on the outskirts of Cairo.

According to local media, 60 rockets complete with warheads, were found in two trucks near the entrance to “October 6th,” a town on the outskirts of the capital Cairo.

The dangerous goods arrived from the north-western province of Matruh and were being transported by smugglers through the desert away from the highways.

According to police officers the cargo arrived in Egypt from Libya.

Voice of Russia, TASS

Egypt insists food supply secure as wheat imports dive : selling bread (less than 1 U.S. cent / loaf ) since last overthrow

By Yasmine Saleh and Sarah McFarlanePosted 2013/02/24 at 10:59 am EST

CAIRO/LONDON, Feb. 24, 2013 (Reuters) — Egypt’s wheat imports are sharply down this year as it endures economic and political crisis, but state and private buyers insist they still have funds to keep the nation supplied with its staple bread.

Egyptian officials and traders acknowledge the government’s problems with a rising budget deficit and falling currency reserves, but say the state is allocating priority financing for wheat imports. They are also pinning some of their hopes on an increase in domestic production.

Foreign traders and financiers remain skeptical, pointing to a big drop both in wheat stocks – to about three months’ supply from over seven last October – and in the number of grains ships arriving at Egyptian ports.

This, they believe, is evidence that the state grains supplier, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, (GASC) is facing problems in maintaining imports.

“It’s an ongoing concern that the political and economic turmoil is making it a challenge for GASC to import wheat,” said Karel Valken, global head of trade and commodity finance at Rabobank.

Egypt has a history of bread riots but maintained supplies of heavily subsidized flat loaves – which sell to the poor for just 5 piastres (less than 1 U.S. cent) – throughout the popular uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The man who until last week organized Egypt’s state wheat purchases, Nomani Nomani, dismissed any suggestion that the government had failed to produce promised funding or guarantees to ensure that shipments could go ahead.

“The state has not at any point reduced its payments or failed to deliver to us financial guarantees,” Nomani, who now advises the supply minister, told Reuters on Sunday.[ID:nL6N0BO1GE] As vice chairman of GASC, Nomani was arguably the most powerful man on the global wheat market as Egypt is traditionally the world’s biggest importer of the grain.

President Mohamed Mursi’s government faces daunting economic problems. The Egyptian pound has fallen more than 8 percent since the start of January, and foreign currency reserves have tumbled to $13.6 billon in January from $36 billion before the fall of Mubarak.


The pound’s drop is putting a heavy strain on the government budget as it has pushed up the cost of state subsidies on energy and food, much of which is purchased in dollars.

At the same time detailed negotiations for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund have yet to get underway, and Egyptian politics are in turmoil due to disputes between the ruling Islamists and opposition parties over a new constitution and parliamentary elections due to start in April.

Nevertheless, private traders discount talk of delivery disruptions, payments problems or shortages so far.

“If you’re asking about any delays in shipping schedules due to contractual liability performance on GASC’s side due to a shortage of foreign currency, the answer as of today, as we speak, is no,” said Hassan Abdel Fadil, chief executive of Egyptian trader Venus.

“It’s obvious to the entire world that there is pressure on the dollar in Egypt, but so far they’ve been doing well,” Fadil told Reuters on Saturday.

“There is a good local supply, both on the private side and on the GASC side. People keep talking about shortage of stocks – no, it’s not true, neither on the private nor on the GASC side.”

Nevertheless, the figures are striking. GASC has bought 235,000 tons of wheat since January 1, about a third of what it purchased in the same period a year earlier.

And dry bulk vessels over 50,000 deadweight tons (dwt) – the kind of ships used to carry wheat – are arriving in sharply reduced numbers.

Altogether 30 have called at Egyptian ports from the country’s main wheat supplier countries in the January to February period. This is down from 59 vessels in the same period last year, ship-tracking data from maritime intelligence publisher IHS Fairplay showed.

Egypt normally buys strategically to ensure it has wheat stocks equal to at least six months’ consumption in its silos. By contrast, the government said last week that it has stocks to last until May 29, or just over three months.

The cabinet said this would rise to about four months under current international contracts, but this falls well short of the almost seven months’ cover in October last year.


Such figures encourage a belief that the dollar shortage is forcing Egypt to import less and make up the shortfall from reserves.

“We’ve done some business there in the last few weeks and didn’t have too much trouble getting paid, but our normal buyers now are saying they are going to live on the stocks they have on hand for the next little while,” said Wayne Bacon, president of grain trader Hammersmith Marketing, which is involved with private importers. “They’re waiting to see if they can get any foreign currency to pay for things.”

Egypt faces a huge task in feeding its people. Most of its territory is desert, and what little land that can be cultivated by using the waters of the Nile is under heavy pressure from development. With its population of 84 million growing fast, buildings are springing up on agricultural land.

Nomani, who left his job at GASC saying only that he had been promoted, said measures to boost domestic production were paying off at a time of difficulty for state finances.

“We have proper planning. We were aware of the conditions the state is going through, and we made a list of factors to rely on for securing our essential supply of wheat, including offering attractive incentives and prices to local farmers,” he said.

Nomani expected local wheat production to increase by “at least 500,000 tons in 2012/2013, if not more, raising the amount of local wheat to 4.2 million tons”.

This would mark an impressive rise from 2.6 million in 2010/2011, but overall needs are greater.

Egypt imports about half the 18.8 million tons of wheat it consumes a year, with business split roughly evenly between private importers and GASC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had estimated Egypt’s imports at 9.5 million tons in 2012/13.

Nomani said the government had budgeted 11 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.6 billion) for domestic wheat purchases this financial year, which runs from July to June.

Nevertheless, the state is short not only of dollars but also domestic currency. The budget deficit in the last six months of 2012 was 5.1 percent of economic output, up sharply from the previous year.

Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby predicted the deficit could hit 10 percent of GDP in the financial year to June – a level Egypt cannot afford without outside help.

Cairo’s main hope is completing the IMF deal that was agreed in principle last November but put on hold during street violence the following month.

Admitting that foreign direct investment had all but dried up, Araby said the government planned to invite an IMF mission to Cairo within a week.

The funds are sorely needed. Egypt suffered bread riots in 1977 when the state tried to curb subsidies, and a dive in the pound in 2003 forced up the food subsidy bill by 40 percent. Riots erupted again in 2008 over high food prices and low wages.

“I don’t think they can afford to jeopardize their subsidies at the moment,” said Hammersmith’s Bacon. “They’re going to have to find funds to finance their wheat and sugar purchases because there’s just too many people in the country who can cause a lot of trouble if they don’t.”

(Additional reporting by Alexander Dziadosz in Cairo, Jonathan Saul in London and Valerie Parent in Paris; writing by Veronica Brown in London and David Stamp in Cairo; Editing by Will Waterman)

Egypt wants extradition of former PM

Feb 21, 2013 20:36 Moscow Time
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ахмед шафик египет

Photo: EPA

Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Office has requested that the Interpol arrest and extradite Egypt’s former prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, news reports said on Thursday.

The decision comes two days after Shafiq was referred in absentia to Cairo Criminal Court over corruption and money laundering charges.

Shafiq, who rejects all the accusations, left Egypt for the United Arab Emirates after losing the presidential race in 2012.

Voice of Russia, TASS


Egypt bans YouTube over Innocence of Muslims video

Published: 9 February, 2013, 20:01 Edited: 9 February, 2013, 20:01


An Egyptian court has ruled to ban video sharing portal YouTube for one month among the other websites hosting the controversial film trailer that mocked Islam and Prophet Mohammed.

­Egypt’s administrative court on Saturday ordered the authorities to block access to YouTube and other websites that have not removed the anti-Islamic trailer. The 14-minute clip made in the US was posted to YouTube in July 2012.

After having been translated into Arabic and partly broadcasted in Egypt last September, this low-budget film sparked a wave of outrage worldwide and anti-American protests in the Middle East that killed more than 70 people and injured hundreds.

The lawsuit against YouTube was filed by Egyptian attorney Hamed Salem amid accusations of the video-sharing service being a “threat to social peace.” Salem demanded YouTube and social media sites linking to the “insulting” video to be banned until all the anti-Islamic content is removed from them.

Egyptian protest movements have condemned the ban, calling YouTube a “vital resource for disseminating information about Human Rights abuses by the security forces,” Cairo-based journalist Bel Trew told RT on Saturday.

The Google-owned service had decided to temporarily block access to The Innocence of Muslims in specific countries, including Egypt and Libya. However, Google refused to remove the video, saying it didn’t violate YouTube’s community guidelines. YouTube still does not consider the film as hate speech towards Muslims, despite the Obama administration’s request to “reconsider” its status.

Recently, an Egyptian court upheld its decision that sentenced seven alleged makers of the film with death, and American pastor Terry Jones with jail term in absentia. Other countries such as Pakistan have taken legal action to suspend a list of Google services until the anti-Islamic video is removed.

Following the violent reaction to the film, to which the Benghazi attack that killed US ambassador in Libya was also initially attributed, a 55-year old US resident identified as a key filmmaker was arrested and sentenced to jail by an American court.

Egypt-born Coptic Christian Mark Bassely Youssef was sentenced to a year in prison and four years of supervised release after pleading guilty to four of the eight charges against him. A US-based Christian charity is said to have funded The Innocence of Muslims, which also portrayed the persecution of Copts in Egypt.

Egypt riot police deploy after palace clashes

02                 Feb                 2013

Egyptian riot police deployed on Saturday near President Mohamed Morsi’s palace as his administration rushed to contain fallout from footage of police beating a naked man during the deadly overnight clashes.

In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, protesters stoned Prime Minister Hisham Qandil’s motorcade when the premier tried to visit after separate overnight clashes nearby between protesters and police, Dream Live television reported.

A 23-year-old was shot dead in late Friday’s clashes as police used birdshot and tear gas on demonstrators who targeted the northern Cairo palace in rallies against the Islamist president, a senior medical official said.

Ninety-one people were also injured, the official added, while the interior ministry reported 15 of its men wounded by birdshot.

Egyptian protesters throw stones towards the presidential palace in Cairo on February 1, 2013. Egyptian riot police deployed on Saturday near the presidential palace after a night of clashes between security forces and petrol-bomb throwing protesters that killed one man and injured dozens

Police said they made 20 arrests, and were filmed on television beating and dragging a naked man to an armoured vehicle, outraging Morsi’s critics, who compared the incident to practices under deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

The opposition National Salvation Front is to meet later on Saturday to review its strategy after the clashes, which followed its call for people to take to the streets.

The NSF on Saturday called for Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim to resign over the beating of the naked man, which triggered an outpouring of condemnation on social media websites.

“The horrible and degrading images showing the central security officers and police beating and dragging a naked man near the presidential palace should lead to the interior minister’s immediate resignation,” NSF spokesman Khaled Dawoud said.

Egyptian riot police set fire to the tents of protesters in front of the gate of the presidential palace in Cairo on February 1, 2013. Egyptian riot police deployed on Saturday near the presidential palace after a night of clashes between security forces and petrol-bomb throwing protesters that killed one man and injured dozens

Ibrahim has ordered a probe to “hold accountable” the policemen who beat the man, his office said. Prosecutors claim the man, a 50-year-old construction painter now held in a police hospital, was found carrying petrol bombs.

The presidency said it “was pained by the shocking footage of some policemen treating a protester in a manner that does not accord with human dignity and human rights.”

A statement added that it would follow the interior ministry’s investigation, of what it called an “isolated act.”

There was no sign of any protesters on Saturday, and debris-littered streets around the presidential palace reopened to traffic.

Egyptian protesters set fire to the gate of the presidential palace in Cairo on February 1, 2013. Egyptian riot police deployed on Saturday near the presidential palace after a night of clashes between security forces and petrol-bomb throwing protesters that killed one man and injured dozens

The smell of tear gas lingered near the palace, its outer wall scrawled with graffiti including “Topple the regime” and “Freedom.”

In iconic Tahrir Square, protesters threw stones and bottles at Qandil’s motorcade in the morning, Dream Live television said.

The premier said in a statement that he was “confronted by youths and troublemakers” and he “preferred to avoid a confrontation between them and security personnel.”

The presidency said security forces would deal with violent protests with “utmost decisiveness” and that it would hold opposition groups found to have incited the clashes “politically accountable.”

Morsi’s Facebook page said the protesters sparked the violence by trying to break into the palace.

The opposition, which accuses Morsi of betraying the revolution that toppled Mubarak two years ago, distanced itself from the violence and urged demonstrators to exercise “utmost restraint.”

But hours before the violence erupted, NSF leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei suggested unrest would persist if Morsi kept sidelining his opponents.

“Writing on wall: violence and chaos will continue until Morsi and co. listen to people’s demands: new government, democratic constitution, independent judiciary,” he wrote on Twitter.

The NSF joined rival Islamists on Thursday in condemning violence and supporting efforts for a national dialogue, but insisted on a unity government and the amendment of the Islamist-drafted constitution that has polarised the nation.

People took to the streets in several cities on Friday in a show of opposition to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood after deadly unrest swept Egypt last week in the worst violence since Morsi was elected in June.

Nearly 60 people died in those clashes, mostly in Port Said. Violence erupted there after 21 local supporters of a football club were sentenced to death a week ago over the killings of 74 people during post-match violence.

The crisis has sapped Morsi’s popularity and complicated negotiations for a crucial $4.8-billion IMF loan that could help bail out the teetering economy

Egypt: thousands march in Port Said, ‘Morsi traitor’

Demonstrations in Suez, Ismailia and Alexandria

01 February, 14:02

    Egypt unrest (archive)
    Egypt unrest (archive)

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Thousands of demonstrators, including many supporters of local soccer team al-Masri, were demonstrating Friday  in Port Said against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Protesters chanted slogans like ‘Morsi traitor’, ‘One, two, three, where is the sniper’. Over 40 people have been killed after a court sentenced 21 Masri fans to death in connection with the stadium massacre whose first anniversary will be remembered tomorrow. Protests are also ongoing in Suez and Ismailia and thousands are marching in Alexandria. (ANSAmed).



    Egypt: Baradei, 3 conditions otherwise talks useless

    Responding to call by President Morsi


    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO, JANUARY 28 – Mohamed elBaradei, one of the leaders of Egypt’s main opposition group, the  National Salvation Front , said three conditions are essential to accept dialogue with President Mohamed Morsi. The president, said elBaradei, must take responsibility for violence in the country, form a national unity government and a politically balanced committee to change the constitution, otherwise talks will be ‘lost time’, he wrote on twitter. (ANSAmed).

    Egypt unrest: Morsi declares emergency in three cities

    Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has declared a state of emergency in the cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismalia after days of deadly unrest.

    A daily curfew from 21:00 to 06:00 will be imposed for 30 days from Monday, he said in a speech to the nation.

    At least 33 people died over the weekend in Port Said, where a court judgment sparked rioting.

    Unhappiness with Mr Morsi’s rule fuelled unrest elsewhere.

    In the capital Cairo, anti-government protesters clashed with security forces near Tahrir Square for a fourth consecutive day.

    The liberal opposition accuses Mr Morsi of being autocratic and driving through a new constitution that does not protect adequately freedom of expression or religion.

    The government is also being blamed for a deepening economic crisis.

    Mr Morsi said he might take further steps “for the sake of Egypt” as it was his “duty” as president.

    He also invited political leaders to a “national dialogue” on Monday.

    State of rage

    The state of emergency applies to the three cities along the Suez Canal, and their surrounding regions.

    “I have said I am against any emergency measures but I have said that if I must stop bloodshed and protect the people then I will act,” the president said.

    “If I must I will do much more for the sake of Egypt. This is my duty and I will not hesitate.”

    Protests erupted in Port Said after a court sentenced 21 local people over deadly football violence nearly a year ago.

    Correspondents say the city remains in a state of rage after the 21 defendants were sentenced over riots which killed 74 people after a football game last February.

    February’s violence began when fans of Port Said side al-Masry attacked visiting supporters from Cairo club al-Ahly.

    Fans flooded on to pitch attacking Ahly players and fans as the match ended.

    Most of the victims died of concussion, cuts and suffocation.

    About 30 people were killed in unrest in the city on Saturday with a further three dying at a mass funeral on Sunday.

    (BBC News)

    Death toll rises as gun battles rage in Egypt: The protesters accuse the new president Mohammad Morsi, elected in June with the support of his Muslim Brotherhood group, of betraying the democratic goals of the revolution

    Alastair Beach in Port Said is witness to further violence as the unrest escalates

    Alastair Beach

    Sunday, 27 January 2013

    The streets of Port Said were convulsed by gun battles tonight as groups of civilians, some using Kalashnikov machine guns, launched attacks on police stations and an army club.

    At least seven people were killed and more than 400 injured during the violence in the city in Egypt’s north east, which began when security forces launched an unprovoked attack on tens of thousands of mourners as they carried the coffins of 33 protesters who were killed during clashes on Saturday.

    Machine guns could be heard rattling throughout the centre of the city, as police holed up in one of the main stations exchanged fire with protesters among the gloomy, shuttered-up streets.

    Hundreds of civilians, many of whom had been caught up in the earlier attack, were sheltering in side roads as they tried to avoid ricocheting bullets.

    Further north, close to the Mediterranean beachfront, black smoke continued to pour into the evening sky from an army club which had been torched by protesters earlier in the day.

    It was here just before 1pm that the funeral procession had first come under attack. As tens of thousands of people marched towards the city’s main graveyard, tear gas canisters began exploding outside the army club’s gates.

    It was not immediately clear who initiated the attack, but members of Egypt’s central security forces – who routinely launch gas at protesters during civil unrest – were stationed in a nearby compound further west along the road.

    Spluttering men and women staggered away from the club and into a side-street. As the procession was re-routed, one middle-aged woman handed out chunks of onion to help mourners combat the effects of gas.

    “I’ve never known anything like this to happen in Egypt before,” said Mahmoud Tito, a 20-year-old customs worker who was caught up in the attack. “I never thought the police would attack a funeral”.

    After finally arriving at the graveyard and burying the dead, the mood among mourners turned from disbelief to anger.

    Returning to the army club, groups of young men broke into the compound and torched two of the buildings.

    At the police club further along the road, where tear gas canisters were raining down from 100 yards inside the compound, gangs of youths set fire to a third building, sending an enormous plume of charcoal-black smoke into the air.

    One protester, wielding a Kalashnikov machine gun, then darted sideways across the deserted main road, unleashing a burst of automatic fire at the police club as he ran. Shortly afterwards another young man took aim using what appeared to be a homemade handgun.

    The funeral procession took place after 33 protesters were killed during a previous outbreak of rioting on Saturday.

    Locals had tried to storm a prison holding football supporters condemned to death for their role in last year’s Port Said stadium disaster, in which 74 fans died.

    Many in the city believe that the suspects, who were sentenced on Saturday, are the victims of a political show trial – a view fueled by the fact that all of the security officials also accused of complicity had their verdicts postponed.

    In Cairo, meanwhile, police fired teargas at dozens of stone-throwing protesters in a fourth day of clashes over what demonstrators there and in other cities say is a power grab by Islamists two years after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

    The protesters accuse the new president Mohammad Morsi, elected in June with the support of his Muslim Brotherhood group, of betraying the democratic goals of the revolution.

    Analysts say the fighting in Port Said and protests in other parts of the country are a symbol of a deep frustration among many Egyptians over Morsi’s rule.

    “These protests are not just about Port Said – there is a crisis of authority in Egypt,” said Fawaz Gerges, Professor of Middle East Politics and International Relations at the LSE.

    “If the current social and economic problems remain, it could be hugely problematic for Morsi – ultimately he will live or die on whether he can deliver jobs and other reforms.  If he can’t, Egypt risks being plunged into huge crisis and turmoil.”


    Egypt deploys troops in Suez after 9 killed on anniversary of uprising

    Sat, 26 Jan 2013 02:21 GMT


    * Army says deployment will be temporary

    * Mursi says will pursue “criminals”, urges peaceful protest

    * Teargas, petrol bombs fly as youths clash with police

    * With eye on vote, Muslim Brotherhood stays away

    By Marwa Awad and Ali Abdelaty

    CAIRO/ISMAILIA, Egypt, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Egypt’s armed forces deployed troops in the city of Suez early on Saturday after nine people were shot dead during nationwide protests against President Mohamed Mursi, underlining the country’s deep divisions as it marked the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

    Eight of the dead, including a policeman, were shot dead in Suez, and another was shot and killed in the city of Ismailia, medics said. Another 456 people were injured across Egypt, officials said, in unrest on Friday fuelled by anger at Mursi and his Islamist allies over what the protesters see as their betrayal of the revolution.

    Mursi said the state would not hesitate in “pursuing the criminals and delivering them to justice”. In a statement, he also called on Egyptians to respect the principles of the revolution by expressing their views peacefully.

    The troops were deployed in Suez after the head of the state security police in the city asked for reinforcements. The army distributed pamphlets to residents assuring them the deployment was temporary and meant to secure the city.

    “We have asked the armed forces to send reinforcements on the ground until we pass this difficult period,” Adel Refaat, head of state security in Suez, told state television.

    Friday’s anniversary laid bare the divide between the Islamists and their secular rivals.

    The schism is hindering the efforts of Mursi, elected in June, to revive an economy in crisis and reverse a plunge in Egypt’s currency by enticing back investors and tourists.

    Inspired by the popular uprising in Tunisia, Egypt’s revolution spurred further revolts across the Arab world. But the sense of common purpose that united Egyptians two years ago has given way to internal strife that already triggered bloody street battles last month.

    Thousands of opponents of Mursi massed on Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square – the cradle of the revolt against Mubarak – to rekindle the demands of a revolution they say has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Mursi emerged.

    In Suez, the military deployed armoured vehicles to guard state buildings, witnesses and security sources said, as symbols of government were targeted across the country.

    Street battles erupted in cities including Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Port Said. Arsonists attacked at least two state-owned buildings. An office used by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party was also torched.

    “Our revolution is continuing. We reject the domination of any party over this state. We say no to the Brotherhood state,” Hamdeen Sabahy, a popular leftist leader, told Reuters.

    The Brotherhood decided against mobilising for the anniversary, wary of the scope for more conflict after December’s violence, stoked by Mursi’s decision to fast-track an Islamist-tinged constitution rejected by his opponents.

    The Brotherhood denies accusations that it is seeking to dominate Egypt, labelling them a smear campaign by its rivals.


    There were conflicting accounts of the lethal shooting in Suez. Some witnesses said security forces had opened fire in response to gunfire from masked men.

    News of the deaths capped a day of violence that started in the early hours of Friday. Before dawn in Cairo, police battled protesters who threw petrol bombs and firecrackers as they approached a wall blocking access to government buildings near Tahrir Square.

    Clouds of teargas filled the air. At one point, riot police used one of the incendiaries thrown at them to set ablaze at least two tents erected by youths, a Reuters witness said.

    Skirmishes between stone-throwing youths and the police continued in streets around the square into the day. Ambulances ferried away a steady stream of casualties.

    Protesters echoed the chants of 2011’s historic 18-day uprising. “The people want to bring down the regime,” they chanted. “Leave! Leave! Leave!” chanted others as they marched towards the square.

    “We are not here to celebrate but to force those in power to submit to the will of the people. Egypt now must never be like Egypt during Mubarak’s rule,” said Mohamed Fahmy, an activist.

    There were similar scenes in Suez and Alexandria, where protesters and riot police clashed near local government offices. Black smoke billowed from tyres set ablaze by youths.

    In Cairo, police fired teargas to disperse a few dozen protesters trying to remove barbed-wire barriers protecting the presidential palace, witnesses said. A few masked men got as far as the gates before they were beaten back.

    Teargas was also fired at protesters who tried to remove metal barriers outside the state television building.

    Outside Cairo, protesters broke into the offices of provincial governors in Ismailia and Kafr el-Sheikh in the Nile Delta. A local government building was torched in the Nile Delta city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra.

    With an eye on parliamentary elections likely to begin in April, the Brotherhood marked the anniversary with a charity drive across the nation. It plans to deliver medical aid to one million people and distribute affordable basic foodstuffs.

    Writing in Al-Ahram, Egypt’s flagship state-run daily, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie said the country was in need of “practical, serious competition” to reform the corrupt state left by the Mubarak era.

    “The differences of opinion and vision that Egypt is passing through is a characteristic at the core of transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and clearly expresses the variety of Egyptian culture,” he wrote.

    Mursi’s opponents say he and his group are seeking to dominate the post-Mubarak order. They accuse him of showing some of the autocratic impulses of the deposed leader by, for example, driving through the new constitution last month.

    “I am taking part in today’s marches to reject the warped constitution, the ‘Brotherhoodisation’ of the state, the attack on the rule of law, and the disregard of the president and his government for the demands for social justice,” Amr Hamzawy, a prominent liberal politician, wrote on his Twitter feed.

    The Brotherhood says its rivals are failing to respect the rules of the new democracy that put the Islamists in the driving seat via free elections.

    (Additional reporting by Tom Perry, Ahmed el-Shemi, Ashraf Fahim,  Shaimaa Fayed and Yasmine Saleh in Cairo and Abdel Rahman Youssef in Alexandria; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Robert Woodward and Peter Cooney)


    A revolution betrayed? Two years after Mubarak, Tahrir Square rises again

    Protesters clash with police across Egypt, calling for end to Morsi’s Islamist government

    Anne Penketh

    Friday, 25 January 2013

    Tens of thousands of boisterous protesters streamed into Tahrir Square in Cairo today denouncing Egypt’s Islamist government on the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

    The day was marred by clashes around the square and elsewhere around the country, particularly in Alexandria where protesters burnt tyres and clashed with police who fired tear gas to control the crowds. In the city of Ismailia the offices of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood were set alight. Dozens of protesters were reported to be injured along with some police.

    The mass rallies were organised by the liberal and leftist opposition parties ostensibly to press for the fulfilment of the main demands of the revolution: bread, freedom and social justice. Egyptians have been hit by the economic crisis which has brought higher prices, media freedom is under attack, and President Morsi has been accused of betraying the revolution by ramming through a new constitution at the end of last year.

    Apparently seeking to avoid violence between the Islamists and their political opponents, Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood ordered its supporters to stay away from Tahrir Square and to demonstrate their love of the homeland by engaging in civic projects.

    Echoing the same slogans that brought down Mubarak two years ago when the people lost their fear of his brutal security forces, the protesters who jammed Tahrir Square in the bright afternoon sunshine chanted “the people want the downfall of the regime”. Egyptian flags were being sold at the entrance to the square, where demonstrators included fewer women than during the 2011 uprising. There have been several cases of sexual harassment against Egyptian and foreign women in the square.

    Among the anti-government marchers were the Communist Party and researchers from Al Azhar university. One banner read: “Save Egypt from the Brotherhood”, while another just said “Go away, go away”. Some marchers called out to Egyptian spectators: “Don’t just stand there – join us!”

    Hussein Gohar, of the new Social Democratic Party, said that his party was not seeking the resignation of the democratically elected Mr Morsi. “But he has to behave like the real president for all Egyptians, and not just for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Mr Gohar’s party is part of the National Salvation Front set up to give the liberal and secular parties a fighting chance against the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, in parliamentary elections expected in the spring. But Egyptian observers say that the Islamist party machine is still likely to deliver a win for the Brotherhood and the ultra-orthodox Salafists.

    More unrest is feared today when the verdict is due on the deaths of football supporters from Egypt’s top team Al Ahly after a match last year in Port Said. Violence was also reported there yesterday. The fans, known as the Ultras, came to prominence in the 2011 opposition fightback against Mubarak’s security forces. Their slogan is “all cops are bastards.”

    A total 74 fans died and 254 were injured in the Port Said football massacre after the match.


    Egypt: January 25; tear gas fired in Tahrir square

    Demonstrators try and storm cement walls around square

    25 January, 12:39

    Egyptian protesters try to dismantle a cement wall erected by police forces near Tahrir square, Cairo
    Egyptian protesters try to dismantle a cement wall erected by police forces near Tahrir square, Cairo

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Police on Friday morning resumed firing tear gas against demonstrators who were trying to storm cement walls erected near Tahrir square to prevent protesters from reaching the interior ministry building.


    Demonstrators hurled stones over the wall and police fired tear gas.


    Last night police had also intervened after demonstrators tried to damage the cement barriers along the boulevard leading to Tahrir square near the parliament and cabinet. The barriers were set up ahead of the great event organized today by opposition forces to mark the second anniversary of the revolution which ousted Hosni Mubarak. According to the Egyptian health ministry, 16 people were wounded in the clashes last night.


    Police forces have re-built the cement barrier blocking the main road accessing the square while hundreds of anti-riot police and armoured vehicles have been deployed. A wall made of cement blocs was also built to block access to parliament’s side road.(ANSAmed).


    Qatar steps in to ease Cairo cash crisis



    Qatar steps in to ease Cairo cash crisis

    Qatar has lent Cairo a further £1.25bn and donated an extra £300m in an effort to control a currency crisis prompted by Egypt’s political turmoil.

    Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani announced the doubling of funds after meeting Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo.

    Egypt faces the threat of a currency crisis after the Egyptian pound hit its lowest level in eight years.

    Authorities warn the country’s central reserves are at a “critical level”.

    Needed to defend the local currency against devaluation, the reserves have dropped from $36bn (£22.3bn) before the uprising to just $15bn, the Central Bank of Egypt disclosed late last month.

    Meanwhile, the American credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgraded Egypt’s long-term credit rating to “B-” – the same level as that of Greece.

    President Morsi has promised to make tackling the country’s failing economy a key priority.

    Nearly two years after the ousting of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, continuing political unrest has exacerbated Egypt’s financial problems, which helped fuel the uprising.

    Bankruptcy pledge

    Qatar was already providing Egypt with financial assistance to the tune of $2.5bn.

    “There was an initial package of $2.5bn, of which $0.5bn was a grant and $2bn a deposit,” said Mr Thani after his meeting with Mr Morsi.

    “We discussed transferring one of the deposits into an additional grant so that the grants became $1bn and the deposits doubled to around $4bn,” he said.

    Egypt is experiencing a marked slowdown in economic growth as well as rising poverty and unemployment.

    A number of Egyptian economists have described the situation as a combination of two phenomena, stagnation and inflation, commonly known as “stagflation”.

    While President Morsi has assured the public that “Egypt will never go bankrupt”, many Egyptians remain sceptical and are rushing to exchange bureaus to buy hard currency at any price.

    That currency devaluation means the value of the government debts increases, causing it to eat more into its remaining reserves to pay them off.

    Controversial presidential decrees have impacted on the country’s institutions owing to the polarisation that ensued between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mr Morsi hails, and the liberal opposition.

    Frequent protests, which escalated in November and December, scared tourists and investors away and delayed negotiations with the IMF over a $4.8bn lifeline. This has created a sharp decline in the country’s reserves.

    Consequently, the ability of the government to provide strong and sustainable public finances has been weakened.

    (BBC News)

    Energy: Egypt still under blackout due to fuel shortage / 15 power stations shut down yesterday, half of country at risk



    28 December, 18:37


    (ANSAmed) – ROME, DECEMBER 28 – Over 15 power stations have not produced energy since yesterday due to a lack of fuel (diesel, natural gas and mazut), according to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC).


    For the first time ever, the electricity distributor announced, ”the drastic decrease in available fuel has reduced productive capacity by about 3,000 megawatts per day”.


    According to sources quoted by Al Ahram Online, if the situation is not resolved soon, ”over half of Egypt’s governorates might be left with no electricity whatsoever”.


    As a result of the halt to energy production in the plants, yesterday the governorates of Suez, Baharia, Alexandria and Cairo suffered a blackout lasting several hours.


    In the attempt to meet electricity demand and deal with the lack of fuel, in October the Egyptian government signed an agreement to import gas from Algeria and started talks for the same with Qatar.


    In August the authorities announced that two power plants would be built in Damietta and Abukir with an overall capacity of 1,800 megawatts when fully operational. (ANSAmed).


    Egyptians hand Islamists narrow win in constitution vote

    EEV: Unfortunately it will now most likely lead to a reign of terror, or civil war.

    Sun, 16 Dec 2012 15:59 GMT


    * Second stage of referendum to be held on Saturday

    * Islamists say constitution vital to move forward

    * Opposition say aspirations of all Egyptians not met

    * Parliamentary election to follow if constitution passed

    By Shaimaa Fayed and Tamim Elyan

    CAIRO, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Egyptians voted in favour of a constitution shaped by Islamists but opposed by other groups who fear it will divide the Arab world’s biggest nation, officials in rival camps said on Sunday after the first round of a two-stage referendum.

    Next week’s second round is likely to give another “yes” vote as it includes districts seen as more sympathetic towards Islamists, analysts say, meaning the constitution would be approved.

    But the narrow win so far gives Islamist President Mohamed Mursi only limited grounds for celebration by showing the wide rifts in a country where he needs to build a consensus for tough economic reforms.

    The Muslim Brotherhood’s party, which propelled Mursi to office in a June election, said 56.5 percent backed the text. Official results are not expected until after the next round.

    While an opposition official conceded the “yes” camp appeared to have won the first round, the opposition National Salvation Front said in a statement that voting abuses meant a rerun was needed – although it did not explicitly challenge the Brotherhood’s vote tally.

    Rights groups reported abuses such as polling stations opening late, officials telling people how to vote and bribery. They also criticised widespread religious campaigning which portrayed “no” voters as heretics.

    A joint statement by seven human rights groups urged the referendum’s organisers “to avoid these mistakes in the second stage of the referendum and to restage the first phase again”.

    Mursi and his backers say the constitution is vital to move Egypt’s democratic transition forward. Opponents say the basic law is too Islamist and tramples on minority rights, including those of Christians who make up 10 percent of the population.

    The build-up to Saturday’s vote was marred by deadly protests. Demonstrations erupted when Mursi awarded himself extra powers on Nov. 22 and then fast-tracked the constitution through an assembly dominated by his Islamist allies.

    However, the vote passed off calmly with long queues in Cairo and several other places, though unofficial tallies indicated turnout was around a third of the 26 million people eligible to vote this time. The vote was staggered because many judges needed to oversee polling staged a boycott in protest.

    The opposition had said the vote should not have been held given the violent protests. Foreign governments are watching closely how the Islamists, long viewed warily in the West, handle themselves in power.

    “It’s wrong to have a vote or referendum with the country in the state it is – blood and killings, and no security,” said Emad Sobhy, a voter who lives in Cairo. “Holding a referendum with the country as it is cannot give you a proper result.”


    As polls closed, Islamists attacked the offices of the newspaper of the liberal Wafd party, part of the opposition National Salvation Front coalition that pushed for a “no” vote.

    “The referendum was 56.5 percent for the ‘yes’ vote,” a senior official in the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party operations room set up to monitor voting told Reuters.

    The Brotherhood and its party had representatives at polling stations across the 10 areas, including Cairo, in this round. The official, who asked not to be identified, said the tally was based on counts from more than 99 percent of polling stations.

    “The nation is increasingly divided and the pillars of state are swaying,” opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on Twitter. “Poverty and illiteracy are fertile grounds for trading with religion. The level of awareness is rising fast.”

    One opposition official also told Reuters the vote appeared to have gone in favour of Islamists who backed the constitution.

    The opposition initially said its exit polls indicated the “no” camp would win comfortably, but officials changed tack during the night. One opposition official said in the early hours of Sunday that it would be “very close”.

    A narrow loss could still hearten leftists, socialists, Christians and more liberal-minded Muslims who make up the disparate opposition, which has been beaten in two elections since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year.

    They were drawn together to oppose what they saw as a power grab by Mursi as he pushed through the constitution. The National Salvation Front includes prominent figures such as ElBaradei, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and firebrand leftist Hamdeen Sabahy.

    If the constitution is approved, a parliamentary election will follow early next year.


    Analysts question whether the opposition group will keep together until the parliamentary election. The Islamist-dominated lower house of parliament elected earlier this year was dissolved based on a court order in June.

    Violence in Cairo and other cities has plagued the run-up to the referendum. At least eight people were killed when rival camps clashed during demonstrations outside the presidential palace earlier this month.

    In order to pass, the constitution must be approved by more than 50 percent of those casting ballots. There are 51 million eligible voters in the nation of 83 million.

    Islamists have been counting on their disciplined ranks of supporters and on Egyptians desperate for an end to turmoil that has hammered the economy and sent Egypt’s pound to eight-year lows against the dollar.

    The army deployed about 120,000 troops and 6,000 tanks and armoured vehicles to protect polling stations and other government buildings. While the military backed Mubarak and his predecessors, it has not intervened in the present crisis

    Egypt: Morsi decree, security powers to military

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has charged the armed forces with maintaining security and protecting state institutions until results of a referendum on a draft constitution scheduled on Saturday are announced. The army is also entitled to arrest civilians to maintain security. The presidential decree is effective starting today.(ANSAmed).


    Egypt: protesters clash with police, Morsi flees palace

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Egyptian police on Tuesday fired tear gas at demonstrators trying to scale the barbed wire barrier separating them from President Mohamed Morsi’s palace, leaving dozens intoxicated, sources said. The president fled the palace after demonstrators smashed through the police cordon, reaching the palace walls, other sources said.     Shortly after, security forces withdrew from the presidential palace perimeter, leaving some Republican guards within the palace itself, sources said. Al Jazeera TV broadcast images of a police armored vehicle followed by officers in riot gear, completely surrounded by protesters. At least 18 of them were intoxicated by tear gas, MENA news agency reported. (ANSAmed).


    Egypt: Youth paint and sing against the Muslim Brotherhood: Street artists in Tahrir to defend freedom of thought

    30 November, 18:51

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO, NOVEMBER 30 – ”They beat us and they stop us from expressing our ideas. They say they are our brothers, but of brotherhood they have absolutely nothing”: that is, except for the name by which the movement founded by Hassan Al-Banna is known.

    Young graffiti artists in Tahrir Square refuse to give up, despite a law banning the use of spray paint issued after the January 25 revolution. They continue fearlessly expressing their thoughts through what they paint on the walls around and in the square. They draw on the walls, but the authorities waste no time in sending someone to paint over their work. Or at least they try to.

    Those in power consider the words accompanying the pictures on the graffiti to be offensive. After the swearing-in of President Mohamed Morsi, the graffiti on the walls of the square symbolising the 2011 uprising and the surrounding streets was removed. However, in these days of high tension, in Mohamed Mahmoud Street (where security forces and protestors clashed violently) the walls are once again full of their drawings. ”We are constantly beaten,” said Hana Maged, a 20-year-old film student at Cairo’s October 6th University. Her friends are a bit more wary, but also join in a moment later. Saiko and Kim are roughly the same age, and also claim to spend a good deal of their time in the streets. Since January 25, 2011, many artists and intellectuals have supported what they call the ”Art Revolution”, and many people have passed by Tahrir Square to see them and show their support, including such well-known journalists such as Yosri Fouda, Galal Amer and Reem Maged, as well as the poet who has become the symbol of the revolution with his “O Egypt, It’s Close”, Tamim El Barghouti. Even politicians – such as El-Baradei – have put their ‘stamp of approval’ on it.

    Cairo’s International Film Festival, which is currently being held in the Egyptian capital, has offered them a space inside of the Opera House. ”They asked us to go slowly,” Hana said. And so no frontal attacks on specific politicians and only graffiti expressing such concepts as freedom and justice through visual arts and music.

    Ramy Essam, the most famous of the ‘revolutionary singers’, was entirely unknown before the revolution, he told ANSAmed. ”I was playing with a group of friends called Mashakel (problems).” What brought him to the limelight were the 18 days that led to the fall of Mubarak. Essam studies engineering and at the age of only 25 he has become a hero for Egyptians. In November 2011 he received the Freemuse Award in Stockholm, an award given every year to a musician struggling for freedom through his music. His winning song was ‘Erhal’, which translates as ‘go’ or ‘leave’ – an imperative addressed to Mubarak. Many production companies (for the most part British and American) later tried to get him to sign on with them.

    ”But I turned down their proposals,” he said, ”I prefer to stay independent.” According to a ranking compiled by the London magazine Time Out, among the songs that have changed the world ‘Erhal’ comes just after John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and Public Enemey’s ‘Fight the Power’. And this evening, once again, Essam will be in the middle of the protest called by opposition groups against the presidential decree with which Mohamed Morsi took on sweeping new powers. (ANSAmed).


    Egyptian high court on Wednesday sentenced to death US pastor Terry Jones for burning copies of the Koran

    Egypt: Court sentences Terry Jones to death over burnt Koran

    Death penalty also for 6 Copts in U.S. over anti-Mohammed film

    28 November, 14:01

    (ANSAmed) – Cairo, November 28 – An Egyptian high court on Wednesday sentenced to death US pastor Terry Jones for burning copies of the Koran.The same court also demanded the death penalty for six Copts who live in the United States for producing the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. The court asked for the authorization of the Grand Mufti, as established by Egypt’s law.

    Another Egyptian Copt who emigrated to the US was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the film which sparked violent protests across the Arab world in September. (ANSAmed)



    Morsi’s advisers resign to protest his constitutional declaration

    Nov 24, 2012 08:58 Moscow Time

    Morsi’s advisers resign to protest his constitutional declaration

    Photo: EPA

    Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi’s advisers are tendering their resignations to protest against his constitutional declaration.

    One of them is Morsi’s assistant for democratic transition Samir Morcos.

    President Morsi made public Thursday his constitutional declaration wherein he granted himself sweeping legislative powers, while depriving the judiciary of their supervisory functions with regard to the upper house of parliament and the commission drafting Egypt’s new constitution.

    The country’s democratic forces have flatly rejected the declaration, describing it as a coup. Morsi’s opponents have launched an indefinite protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.


    The new constitutional declaration of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is designed to complete the transition in the country and was adopted after discussions with all political forces, according to a statement released by the presidential administration’s spokesman Yasser Ali.

    On Thursday evening, Morsi unveiled a new constitutional declaration that delegated exclusive legislative authority to the president and deprived the courts of many of their oversight functions.

    The democratic forces of the country strongly rejected the declaration, calling the document a “coup.”

    Opponents of Morsi announced plans to hold indefinite protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo.


    On Friday several hundred football fans gathered in the central square of Cairo for a rally organized by liberal parties against a new constitutional declaration.

    The young people who gathered were very aggressive with many of them wearing masks and some even wearing helmets to protect themselves from stones which might be thrown.

    Police attempted to push back the protesters from Tahrir Square when clashes broke out injuring at least 20 people.

    On Thursday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi unveiled a new constitutional declaration, which has replaced the country’s basic laws.

    In it he greatly expanded his own powers with many liberals calling the move a “coup”.

    Voice of Russia, Russia-24, RIA


    Egyptian Jihadi Leader Says: Destroy the Pyramids

    Egyptian Jihadi Leader Says Destroy the Pyramids and Sphinx

    Egypt’s Great Pyramids (photo credit: Wikipedia)

    An Egyptian jihadi leader is calling for the destruction of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, that is, the Great Pyramids. Also on his target: the Great Sphinx. Those historical heritage sites are situated in Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt’s capital.

    The call was made Saturday night on a popular program on Egypt’s Dream TV by jihadist Murgan Salem al-Gohary who says he participated in the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001.

    Egypt Independent reveals more about Gohary and his familiarity with the destruction of world heritage sites:

    Gohary, 50, is well-known in Egypt for his advocacy of violence. He was sentenced twice under former President Hosni Mubarak, one of the two sentences being life imprisonment. He subsequently fled Egypt to Afghanistan, where he was badly injured in the American invasion. In 2007, he traveled from Pakistan to Syria, which then handed him over to Egypt. After Mubarak’s fall in early 2011, he was released from prison by a judicial ruling.

    “All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues,” he said. […]

    “God ordered Prophet Mohamed to destroy idols,” he added. “When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”

    Egyptian Jihadi Leader Says Destroy the Pyramids and Sphinx

    Murgan Salem al-Gohary on Dream TV (via Al Arabiya)

    The show also interviewed the vice president of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party, Sheikh Abdel Fattah Moro, who rejected the destruction call, emphasizing that the 7th century Arab commander who led the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Amr ibn al-Aas, did not destroy the statues during his military campaign.

    Egypt: thousands protest in Tahrir Sq to call for Sharia law

    Salafis want it to be basis of Constitution

    09 November, 16:24

    (ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Thousands of protesters gathered Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for the introduction of Sharia law in Egypt.       Groups of Salafis asked for it to be the principle source of legislation in the country’s constitution.

    Protesters, including many men with long beards and women in veils, are collecting signatures for a petition in which they ask for the Sharia to become ”the basis of all laws”.
    ”Those who accept a constitution that renounces the Sharia will be considered a traitor of God and the prophet,” said a preacher from a stage set up in the large square, a symbol of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.     ”Liberals and seculars are plotting against Islam to delete the Islamic identity of the country. They are only merchants of power, we can compare them to Satan and we must resist them and the Western plots”, said Mohamed el Sagher.       ”Islam is not a chocolate bar with a sell-by date. It should always be applied and we will return to the principles of our forefathers,” he added. (ANSAmed).


    Christian Copt to face trial in Egypt for blasphemy

    Posted 2012/09/24 at 6:09 pm EDT

    CAIRO, Sep. 24, 2012 (Reuters) — An Egyptian Copt arrested on suspicion of posting an anti-Islam video online that ignited Muslim protests around the world will stand trial next Wednesday on charges of insulting religions, the state news agency MENA said on Monday.

    Computer science graduate Alber Saber, 27, was arrested at his Cairo home on September 13 after neighbors accused him of uploading sections of the film “Innocence of Muslims” and making another movie mocking all religions.

    His case has raised concerns over freedom of expression under Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, who came to power in free elections earlier this year after the 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

    Many Christian Copts have been concerned about the political rise of Islamists since Mubarak’s fall and fret about any action that could stoke tensions with their Muslim compatriots.

    The crude film made in California portrayed the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, thug and child molester. Angry Muslim crowds stormed U.S. embassies around the Arab world. In Libya, the U.S. ambassador was killed by Islamist militants.

    Human rights lawyers say Saber was arrested without a prosecutor’s warrant and that he was beaten during interrogation. Security officials have refused to talk publicly about the case, but a judicial source said the police had acted on the instructions of prosecutors.

    Prosecutors have accused him Alber of running Facebook pages calling for atheism, insulting Islam and Christianity and questioning religious beliefs, and have referred him to a Cairo misdemeanor court.

    Saber’s lawyer wasn’t immediately available for comment. His mother, Kariman Ghali, said her son had done nothing wrong.

    (Reporting by Tamim Elyan and Ali Abdelattai; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

    Sinai of discord: Egypt, Israel growing impatient over border security: “warning Israel against any “provocations.”

    Published: 24 September, 2012, 21:38 Edited: 25 September, 2012, 02:23

    Egypt “will cut off an arm of any foreign or internal aggressor,” a top military official tells an Egyptian daily, as Cairo boosts military presence in Sinai over militant threat. Israel is rumored to be planning a strike on the disturbed peninsula.

    ­Reports that Israel is planning an own operation in Sinai to counter militant incursions into Israel’s territory are taken “very seriously” in Cairo, an anonymous member of Egypt’s Higher Military Council told the al-Masry al-Youm newspaper.

    Egypt is closely following the recent developments on the border, the unnamed official continued warning Israel against any “provocations.” He slammed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for refusing to review the Camp Davis Accords.

    Sinai has grown into a hornet’s nest since the toppling of long-term Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, with constant explosions on a pipe transporting gas to Israel. In recent months, Islamic militants have turned from diversions to massive armed attacks on Egypt’s security forces, killing at least 16 Egyptians in August. Then the Islamists crossed the border into Israel. The latest attack on Friday launched from Sinai resulted in a death of an IDF soldier.

    Cairo had to send more troops to Sinai in a crackdown on militants. This included dispatching heavy weaponry and helicopters, though Camp Davis agreement permits only a limited military presence in the land.

    On Sunday, Lieberman said he would not allow any modifications of the  1979 pact, which saw Israel hand back the peninsula they had been  occupying since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

    There is no chance that Israel will agree to any kind of change” to the peace deal, Lieberman stated while speaking on Israeli radio.

    The Egyptians shouldn’t try to delude themselves or delude others and they should not rely on this demand,” he said, adding that security in Sinai had nothing to do with troop numbers, but with Egypt’s “readiness to carry out the job as needed.

    The  exchange between the two countries comes as an Egyptian court upholds  the death sentence for 14 Islamists convicted of the murder of seven  people in the Sinai Peninsula in June and July the previous year. Six  men will be hanged. The eight others were tried in absentia.

    ­Israel allowing Egypt to move in more forces into Sinai to deal with the spike in extremism shows some good will on the behalf of the Jewish state, says Yaakov Lappin, a journalist at The Jerusalem Post. But having reinforced battalions permanently stationed in the peninsula is a completely different story.

    “We are in a very unstable phase in the Middle East and we don’t know who exactly will be operating in Sinai, what effects it will have on future Israeli Egyptian forces. All of these question marks mean that the government in Jerusalem is reluctant at this stage to open up the treaty,” Lappin explained to RT.

    Lappin says there is a debate in Israel over the issue with several experts proposing that the Camp Davis pact should be signed anew. The refreshed treaty could permit Egypt to have more forces in the region while recommitting the country’s new leaders to peace.