A group of al-Azhar students clashed with security forces on Sunday after a staged protest denouncing the death and arrest of several al-Azhar students turned violent. Al-Azhar students’ protests began on Saturday to voice their rejection of the “military coup” which led to the unseating of former President Mohamed Morsi. Students rallied outside the administrative building of al-Azhar University on Sunday before they began moving outside the university campus.  Al-Ahram reported that students set up fires inside the campus and smashed police cars, attacking passengers. The state-run paper said that tear gas seeped into the classrooms, preventing professors from giving lectures. An Interior Ministry statement said 3000 students blocked Nasr Road and security forces were forced to use tear gas after negotiation attempts failed and they were attacked with rocks. The ministry denied its forces raided al-Azhar University, contrary to student accusations, saying police only fired teargas at Islamist students after they rioted outside the university gates and blocked roads around campus to traffic. Some forty-three students face charges of rioting, road blocking, assaulting police and damaging public property. In a statement issued after the chaos that erupted on the first day after the Eid holiday, the student union said they will mobilize to call for the release of those arrested during Sunday’s protest. [DNEMada MasrAhram OnlineCairo PostReuters, 10/21/2013]


Brotherhood says reports of reconciliation inaccurate, criticizes Western “hypocrisy”
A leading member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says there are no reconciliation initiatives currently on the table. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Mohamed Ali Bishr said media coverage concerning reconciliation attempts is inaccurate. Bishr, who is also a member of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, said the group refused a dialogue initiative suggested earlier this month by Islamist lawyer Ahmed Kamal Abul-Magd. Meanwhile, The Muslim Brotherhood accused the United States and other Western governments of complicity in Egypt’s recent bloodshed by supporting the power that ousted former president Mohamed Morsi. “We reject any foreign interference in the affairs of our country as we strive for independence and freedom from foreign domination,” read the Brotherhood’s letter. “But what we want is for Western governments to take a stance consistent with their proclaimed principles, and to not support dictatorships as they have done often for a long time.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 10/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Improvements indicate Egypt on right track, says PM | Ahram Online
Political forces hail Sisi’s initiative to give up smuggled weapons | SIS
National Salvation Front faces new crisis | Cairo Post


Constitution body rejects judges’ remarks, will hold closed meeting Tuesday
Mohamed Salmawy, spokesperson for the fifty-member Constituent Panel has claimed the body rejects remarks made by some judges relating to the unfinished document. “The committee awaits the final agreement of members of the judiciary on disputed materials,” he said, adding that there is no place for controversy within the committee. The State Council’s Judges Club on Saturday sent a memorandum to the committee saying that it will refuse any attempts to undermine the role of the judiciary in the new constitution. Salmawy revealed that the committee is meeting on Tuesday without reserve members to discuss the initial draft. [Egypt Independent, SIS, 10/20/2013]

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood facing wave of trials
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood faces a wave of trials unlike any it has seen in its history, threatening to put a large number of its senior leaders behind bars for years, even life, as military-backed authorities determined to cripple the group prepare prosecutions on charges including inciting violence and terrorism. The prosecutions are the next phase in a wide-ranging crackdown on the Brotherhood following the military’s July ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, who goes on trial next month. So far, at least nine and possibly more than a dozen cases are being put together, according to a prosecution official and Brotherhood lawyers. Each has multiple defendants. Four cases, including Morsi’s, have been referred to trial with a total of at least 34 defendants, though a few are being tried in absentia. Ahmed Seif, a human rights lawyer following the investigations, predicted around 200 Brotherhood leaders and senior officials could eventually end up in court. [AP, 10/19/2013]

Former PM Ebeid to testify in Mubarak retrial Sunday
A retrial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resumed on Saturday in a closed-door session in which top security officials gave testimony, state television said. State television said that former intelligence chief Mourad Mowafy and the head of the national security authority, General Mostafa Abdel Naby, testified in Saturday’s hearing. Egyptian former prime minister Atef Ebeid, former interior minister Ahmed Gamal el-Din and current Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail testified Sunday in the retrial. Last month the presiding judge imposed a media gag on the sessions’ proceedings for reasons of national security. Further sessions have been earmarked for October 21. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Cairo Post, 10/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Shafiq’s land sale case adjourned to Thursday | Ahram Online
Court adjourns case demanding FJP, Salafist El-Nour Party dissolutions | Ahram Online
Case demanding that Google be banned in Egypt postponed | Ahram Online
Jordanian spy trial postponed | Egypt Independent
Suspect arrested in June Shia lynching | Mada Masr
Hundred Egyptian women to submit their demands to constitution panel | Cairo Post


Growth rate decreased to 1.5% in 2012/2013
Egypt’s economic growth rate slumped to 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2012/2013 compared to 3.3 percent in the corresponding period a year earlier. The growth rate decreased to 2.2 percent in both the second and third quarters, down from 2.6 percent in the first quarter, according to a recent report from the ministry of planning. The report showed that growth rate in 2012/2013 reached 2.1 percent compared to 2.2 percent in 2011/2012, 1.8 percent in 2010/2011 and 5.1 percent in 2009/2010. Minister of Planning Ashraf al-Arabi said the government plans to pump additional 24.5 billion pounds, constituting more than one percent of the GDP for the current fiscal year with the aim of invigorating the national economy and pushing forward the production process. This is meant to bring back economic growth rates to 3.5 percent, compared to 2 percent annually in average over the past three years. Meanwhile, PM Hazem el-Biblawy said the Egyptian economy is improving adding there are many indicators, which confirm this fact. This came in a comment on a report of the International Monetary Fund on the future of the Egyptian economy which indicated that economic growth rate for the coming year will not exceed 2.8 percent compared to 3.5 percent as forecast by the government.The IMF figures showed that Egypt’s weak economic performance will continue until the year 2018. [DNE, SIS, 10/21/2013]

Kuwait gives Egypt 5 years to repay $2 billion deposit: Egyptian PM
The Gulf Arab state of Kuwait will allow Egypt to repay a $2 billion central bank deposit over five years instead of the current one-year timeframe, Egypt’s interim prime minister said on Sunday. Egypt’s central bank received the $2 billion deposit from Kuwait on September 26. It was part of a $4 billion aid package pledged by Kuwait after the Egyptian army overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Cairo Post, 10/21/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt stocks hit 2-year high in trading Sunday | Ahram Online
Global consultancy firms and investors anticipate government announcement to begin development of the Suez Canal | DNE
Saudi and Emirati investments to recycle agricultural waste in Egypt | DNE
Egypt faces no problem in petroleum products until end of 2013: Al-Ahram report | Ahram Online
QNB denies plans to sell NSGB Egypt | Ahram Online
Government continues attempts to encourage exporting | DNE
Daba’a nuclear plant tender to be floated next January | SIS
CBE issues treasury bonds worth 3 billion EGP on Monday | Cairo Post
Draft law for amending budget submitted to President | Cairo Post


Gunmen kill four near church in Cairo suburb
Gunmen on a motorcycle fired on Egyptian wedding guests outside Keniset Al-‘Adra (Church of the Virgin Mary) located in the Warraq suburb in the Giza governorate on Sunday night. This counts as the first attack on a church in Cairo since the army’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, which instigated attacks on Coptic Christian properties and churches in upper Egypt. The Ministry of Health announced on Monday that the death toll of the attack increased to four while the number of injured rose to eighteen. Several political and religious figures have condemned the shooting. Interim Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawy, al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Salafist Nour Party, leader of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party Mohamed Abul-Ghar, al-Jama’a al-Islamiya, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, all denounced the attack. The Maspero Youth Coalition accused the government of failing to protect the Coptic community, and blamed the authorities for the upswing in sectarian violence in the aftermath of the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins on August 14. The coalition called for demonstrations in front of the cabinet headquarters on Tuesday at noon to demand Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim’s removal, and for security officials to be held accountable for their failure to protect Christians. Monuir Dawoud, head of the US Copts Association and International Christian Union condemned the shooting and blamed the interim government. Dawoud demanded that Beblawy resign immediately. Head of al-Haya Party and Coptic activist Michael Mounir accused the banned Muslim Brotherhood of being involved in the Sunday’s attack on the church. He said Sunday that no one benefits from shooting Christians except Brotherhood members. The Attorney General’s investigation led by Yasser Abdel Latif into the deadly shooting will collect eyewitness testimony on Monday. [Aswat Masriya, Reuters, DNE , Ahram Online, SIS, Cairo Post, AP, Mada Masr, 10/21/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ultras Ahlawy march demanding release of members | Ahram Online, DNE, AP
Ultras Green Eagles protest for fair trial | Cairo Post
Morsi loyalists return to Rabaa, fended off by security | Ahram Online
65 women were saved from sexual violation during Eid: pressure group | DNE
Tamarod: Cabinet met our demands regarding modifying demonstration law | Cairo Post
Restart railway services, Cairo-Alexandria next Tuesday | Cairo Post


Militants attack CSF bus in North Sinai and in Ismailia
Militants attacked a bus carrying Central Security Forces (CSF) conscripts early Sunday in Sheikh Zuwaid, North Sinai. Three CSF conscripts were reportedly injured in the attack on the al-Arish-Rafah highway in Sheikh Zuwaid. Security force said that unknown assailants attacked the bus using RPGs and firearms. On Saturday, a car bomb exploded near the Military Intelligence building in Ismailia. The primary outcome losses resulting from the explosion is damage to the fence outside of the military Intelligence building, and injury of three of its members. Egyptian military spokesperson Ahmed Ali has labelled the car bomb explosion outside an Ismailia military intelligence building a “terrorist attack” against the Egyptian people. In a statement released on his Facebook page Saturday, Ali confirmed that the car bomb left six army personnel injured. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis issued a statement on Monday declaring its responsibility for Saturday’s bombing. In its statement, the Sinai-based militant group accused the army intelligence apparatus of being “the spearhead” in a war that benefits only the enemies of the nation – the “Jews and Christians.” Meanwhile, national security revealed that the Furqan Brigades, al-Nusra Front, and other jihadist elements were responsible for the explosion. A security source said on Sunday that the bombing is considered the beginning of a “new phase,” with threats of more “terrorist incidents” and bombings in the coming days. The source added that explosives experts found a map of a “terrorist scheme” with military targets in the canal governorates that were scheduled to take place the coming days. In addition, they found a number of firearms, RGPs, ammunition, night vision devices, and cameras. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 10/21/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt security forces arrest suspect in killing of Shia leader | Ahram Online
For the first time in thirty-four years Egyptian fighter jets flew over Gaza-Israel border | SIS
375 police force members killed since January 2011 says MOI | DNE


Egypt on EU Foreign Affairs Council main agenda
Official spokesman for the French foreign ministry, Romaine Nadal, said Saturday that the Foreign Affairs Council will hold a meeting Monday in which recent developments in Egypt will be discussed. The fact sheet detailing EU-Egyptian relations added that “the EU engaged in talks aiming at bringing the parties together…” Political polarization deepened during spring 2013 and following immense nationwide protests against the Freedom and Justice Party rule, President Morsi was forced out of office on July 3, 2013. [DNE, 10/19/2013]

Ministerial delegation embark on Nile Basin tour
A ministerial delegation has departed Egypt to begin a three-stop tour of Nile Basin countries in an attempt to strengthen relations and cooperation with the countries. Interim Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy will visit Uganda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo during the tour and will be accompanied by interim Minister of Agriculture Ayman Abu Hadid and interim Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Ibrahim Mahlab, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement. [DNE, 10/20/2013]

Gulf states, Egypt back Saudi rejection of UN seat
Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Arab allies and Egypt have applauded its decision to reject a UN Security Council seat in protest at the world body’s failure to act on Syria, whose leader is backed by Russia and Iran. Expressions of support from Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Arab friends contained no overt criticism of US policy, but echoed the kingdom’s complaints about the Security Council’s failure to end the war in Syria and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. [Reuters, 10/21/2013]

Egyptians hostages in Libya released
Libyan militants kidnapped twenty Egyptian drivers on Thursday last week in Ajdabiya, a town in north-eastern Libya, according to the state-run news agency. The militants reportedly did this in response to Egyptian security forces arresting their relatives on charges of arms smuggling. The Egyptian Embassy in Libya on Sunday secured the release of the Egyptian hostages. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, AP, 10/21/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian family rejects Israel honor | AP