Top News: ISIS Kills Twenty-Eight in Sana’a

The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) has claimed responsibility for an attack on Monday night in Sana’a that left at least twenty-eight dead. The car bomb attack targeted Houthi rebel chief brothers Faycal and Hamid Jayache during a gathering to mourn the death of a family member, a security source said. Houthi rebels closed down the surrounding area in the center of the city after the attack, allowing only emergency services to help evacuate the victims, witnesses said. In a statement posted online, ISIS said it had organized the attack on what it called a “Shia nest” in the Yemeni capital. [AFPAl Arabiya, 6/30/2015]



World denounces assassination of Egypt’s Prosecutor-General
Dozens of states and international organizations worldwide have strongly denounced the Monday assassination of Egyptian Prosecuter-General Hisham Barakat in a car bomb attack. The UN Security Council, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani, the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Bin Ahmad al-Jubeir, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the Sudanese and Tunisian presidents Omar al-Bashir and Beji Caid Essebsi all expressed solidarity with Egypt in its war against terrorism and expressed their condolences over Barakat’s assassination. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also extended the opportunity to mourn to Egyptians living abroad by instructing diplomatic missions abroad to open condolence books at their headquarters. Head to EgyptSource for earlier statements by the United States, United Nations, and European Union, as well as more background information on Bakarat’s assassination. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, SIS , Reuters, 6/30/2015]

Egypt’s Sisi pledges stricter laws after murder of top prosecutor
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has vowed to amend laws in Egypt within days to achieve “rapid justice” against militants a day after the assassination of the country’s top public prosecutor. “The arm of justice is chained by the law. We’re not going to wait for this. We’re going to amend the law to allow us to implement justice as soon as possible,” Sisi said in televised remarks to reporters as he left a military funeral for Hisham Barakat, whose convoy was struck by a car bomb attack on Monday. Sisi addressed the judiciary, saying that following Barakat’s death, condolences will be paid by advancing the state, controlling terrorism, and creating rulings of effective justice as fast as possible. Sisi said, “If there is a death sentence, a death sentence shall be enforced.” Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend echoed Sisi’s statements saying the attack will not stop judges and prosecutors from enforcing the rule of law in the face of terrorists and criminals. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Mada Masr, The Guardian, Egypt Independent, 6/30/2015]

Elections expected in September says Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim al-Heneidy expects parliamentary elections to be held in September 2015, with the first parliamentary session before the end of the year. “We are under pressure by political leaders to complete the third step of the roadmap,” Heneidy said Sunday. It is expected that the parliamentary law drafts will be presented to the cabinet this week, after the observations of the High Electoral Commission (HEC) are received, he said. [DNE, 6/ 29/2015]

Interior ministry steps up security measures ahead of June 30
Following the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat on Monday, security forces are on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the June 30 mass protests. The minister of interior presented a provisional security plan to the presidency, stepping up the security presence surrounding vital facilities and public institutions. Public transportation and the metro will also see a higher security presence, according to a presidency statement. The health ministry also said Tuesday that it has placed its staff and facilities on high alert nationwide in preparation for the anniversary. A broad alliance of thirteen anti-military groups had called on people to take to the streets on June 30, the anniversary of a popular uprising ousted ex-President Mohamed Morsi. Among them are the Istiqlal Party, Women against the Coup, and the Movement of Azharis against the Coup. [DNE, 6/30/2015]

For more in-depth Egypt news, please visit EgyptSource


Skhirat session suspended as unhappy GNC delegates return to Tripoli
The latest UN-sponsored Dialogue negotiations in Morocco took an unexpected break after the General National Congress (GNC) delegation decided to return to Tripoli to consult with their colleagues about amendments to latest draft. Others attending the talks, including foreign ambassadors, also left Morocco but say they hope to return soon for a final agreement. UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon said that both the GNC and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives teams left for consultations and would return on Wednesday. The session would resume on Thursday at which time Leon expects the draft to be approved. [Libya Herald, Al Arabiya, 6/29/2015]

Tunisia links Libya to beach resort attacker
The Tunisian gunman who attacked a resort hotel last Friday likely spent time in a training camp in Libya and had been in contact with militants over the border, according to a security source. Investigators were verifying whether the gunman, Saif Rezgui, had received militant training in a jihadist camp across in Libya. “Investigations show Saif Rezgui was in contact with terrorists in Libya and he likely trained in a Libyan camp,” an official said. The two gunmen who carried out the March attack on the Bardo Museum had also clandestinely crossed into Libya for training late last year. Rezgui took out his passport last year but there were no exit stamps in it. Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid told CNN he believes that Rezgui was “mainly radicalized online.” [Reuters, 6/30/2015]

Obama speaks to British and Tunisian leaders after Friday’s attack
President Barack Obama is offering US assistance to the investigation into the attack in Tunisia that killed thirty-nine people at a beach resort last week. Obama spoke by phone on Monday with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. The White House says Obama offered condolences and support on behalf of himself and all Americans and pledged additional cooperation with Tunisia. Obama also spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Most of the people killed in the attack were British. The White House says Obama offered condolences and prayers and the leaders said they were committed to working with other partners in Europe and the Middle East to counter violent extremism. [AP, 6/29/2015]

Three European interior ministers in Sousse express solidarity; Tunisia identifies victims
Interior Ministers of the United Kingdom, Germany, and France went to the scene of the tourist attack in Sousse on Monday to reaffirm their full support to Tunisia in its war on terrorism. At a press conference attended by Tunisian Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli, the European ministers reiterated their countries’ commitment to make every effort to strengthen cooperation between Tunisia and the European Union at both security and economic levels. They also emphasized their firm determination to combat terrorism and defend freedoms, democracy, and human values. Tunisia’s health ministry said on Tuesday it had so far identified twenty-seven bodies from Friday’s hotel gun attack including nineteen British, three Irish, one Belgian, two German, a Russian citizen, and a Portuguese national. [Reuters, 6/30/2015]


Turkish opposition leader warns against intervention in Syria
Leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu warned Tuesday that any military intervention in Syria would spell disaster and should be avoided while the country’s post-election coalition talks proceed. The warning came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired a meeting on Monday of Turkey’s National Security Council, voicing concern about a terrorism threat from across the border. Jordan may be preparing to establish a humanitarian “buffer zone” in the southern Syrian provinces of Deraa and Sweida to bolster its border security and stem the flow of Syrian refugees. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday that there is no solid evidence that either Jordan or Turkey have considered taking such action. [Reuters, NYT, 6/30/2015]

UN condemns fighting by Syria and rebels in Golan Heights
The United States and Russia co-sponsored a UN Security Council resolution condemning the fighting and use of heavy weapons by Syrian armed forces and opposition fighters in the Golan Heights. The resolution, adopted unanimously by the council on Monday, calls on parties to the Syrian conflict to halt all military action in the area of separation, warns that military activities in the zone could escalate Syrian-Israeli tensions, and extends the mandate of the 750-strong peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights until the end of 2015. Israel said Monday it will only provide humanitarian aid to Syrian rebel groups who agree not to harm members of the Druze minority. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that he will meet in Vienna Tuesday with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the Syria crisis and rising attacks by extremists. [AP, 6/29/2015]

ISIS beheads female civilians for first time in Syria, executes own official in Iraq
Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militants beheaded two women in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor last week. Both of the women were accused of sorcery, marking the first time the group has decapitated female civilians. Reports also emerged Monday that ISIS executed one of its own top administrative officials in the Iraqi city of Mosul for planning a coup against the group. The reports indicate that the execution of Abu Usman al-Hassan, one of the group’s commanders and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s representative in Mosul, prompted a number of Syrian and Arab fighters to withdraw towards ISIS’s de-facto capital city of Raqqa in protest of the execution. [Reuters, 6/30/2015]

Syrian regime could wage large-scale chemical attack
A report citing US intelligence officials emerged Monday saying there is a strong possibility that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will resort to a large-scale chemical weapons attack to protect government strongholds in the south if they come under attack. Officials believe that the regime has “squirreled away” quantities of sarin and VX to use in such an attack, despite an agreement last year in which Assad allowed international inspectors to remove Syria’s chemical weapons and stockpiles. The report claims that the Assad regime developed and deployed a new type of chemical bomb filled with chlorine and recent battlefield losses may prompt it to use deadly chemical weapons on a larger scale. [Daily Star, 6/30/2015]


ISIS kills twenty-eight in Sana’a
The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) has claimed responsibility for an attack on Monday night in Sana’a that left at least twenty-eight dead. The car bomb attack targeted Houthi rebel chief brothers Faycal and Hamid Jayache during a gathering to mourn the death of a family member, a security source said. Houthi rebels closed down the surrounding area in the center of the city after the attack, allowing only emergency services to help evacuate the victims, witnesses said. In a statement posted online, ISIS said it had organized the attack on what it called a “Shia nest” in the Yemeni capital. [AFP, Al Arabiya, 6/30/2015]

Yemeni forces launch Scud missile into Saudi territory
The Houthi-run SABA news agency is reporting that Yemeni Army forces have successfully launched a Scud missile into Saudi territory. According to a spokesman for the rebel group, the missile was in response to continued Saudi aggression. Although no reports label the attackers as Houthi militias, the act mirrors similar Houthi campaigns in the past. The Saudi defense ministry denied the attack. [AP, 6/29/2015]

United States lifts ban on aid to Bahrain
The Obama administration on Monday lifted its ban on security assistance to Bahrain imposed after the nation’s crackdown on demonstrators in 2011. The move will allow the United States to provide missiles, Humvees, ammunition, and small arms to Bahrain’s military and national guard. The United States, however, still maintains its hold on equipment for the interior ministry. US Department of State spokesman John Kirby said that the human rights situation in Bahrain was inadequate, but that the Gulf state had made some progress. “Bahrain is an important and longstanding ally on regional security issues,” Mr. Kirby said in a statement. “Following the lift of these holds, we will continue to press Bahrain on our human rights concerns.” [NYT, 6/29/2015]

Ban Ki-moon launches investigation into attack in Yemen
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored on Monday an Arab coalition air strike in Yemen that seriously damaged a UN Development Program office and injured a guard, calling for a full investigation into the incident. The airstrike took place in the port city of Aden on Sunday. Ban’s spokesman Farhan Haq said, “The Secretary General strongly believes that this incident only underscores the imperative that all the parties to the conflict must end the fighting and return to the negotiation table as the only possible way to achieve a durable peace in Yemen.” [Reuters, 6/29/2015]


Tunisia estimates $515 million in tourism losses, decline in foreign reserves following attack
Tunisia estimates at least $515 million in losses in 2015 for its tourism industry after last Friday’s attack on a beach hotel that killed 39 people, the tourism minister said. “The attack had a great impact on the economy, the losses will be large,” Tourism Minister Salma Loumi said on Monday. The decline in tourism will also affect Tunisia’s foreign exchange reserves and could lead to a weakening of the country’s currency. Inflation appears steady below 6 percent, tax collection is improving and authorities have started to rein in spending, which may offset the blow from any tourism slump. [Reuters, 6/30/3015]

Talks ongoing to restart closed Libyan oilfields, output stable
Negotiations to reopen Libyan oilfields are ongoing and the level of the country’s production remains stable, a spokesman for the state National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday. Libyan authorities said they are trying to reopen pipelines for the El Feel and El Sharara oilfields and the port of Zueitina, which has been blocked for weeks by protests and disputes. “Efforts being carried out by elders and mayors of local municipalities are still under way in order to reopen the closed oil fields. We expect good results soon,” said NOC spokesman Mohamed Harari. He declined to provide an official update on production output, but the Tripoli LANA news agency estimated it to be 500,000 barrels per day (bpd). [Reuters, Libya Monitor (subscription) 6/29/2015]

Syria puts new 1000-pound note into circulation
The Central Bank of Syria put into circulation on Tuesday a new 1,000 pound banknote that does not include the image of former president Hafez al-Assad. Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh said the move is part of an effort to improve the paper currency in circulation. Mayaleh insisted that the new banknote would not affect the country’s inflation rate but that it will replace 70 billion worn-out banknotes that are being withdrawn. Instead of the late president’s image, the new note depicts an ancient Roman theater in southern Deraa province. [AP, 6/30/2015]]

Iraq to issue domestic and international bonds in July and August
The Iraqi government is planning to issue a total of $11 billion in domestic and international bonds in the next two months to cover the state budget deficit, the acting central bank governor Ali al-Allaq said. In an interview, al-Allaq said the government would issue around $5 billion in domestic bonds next month and around $6 billion in international bonds by the middle of August. He said the government has started talks with potential investors in Turkey for the five-year international bonds. He added that the central bank also plans to repurchase government bonds in an effort to provide financial liquidity, maintain price stability, and support the economy. [Zawya, 6/30/2015]

EBRD boosts trading facility for Egypt’s CIB to $100 million
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Monday it would increase its trading facility limit to Egypt’s largest private sector bank, the Commercial International Bank (CIB), to $100 million from $50 million. EBRD said in a statement the boost came in response to growing market demand to promote cross-border trade in Egypt. [Reuters, 6/29/2015]