Top News: Attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Kill Security Personnel; Government Responds

 Two attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed thirty-three security personnel on Friday, security sources said.


Presidential decree refers crimes on facilities to military court
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi issued a law on Monday that allows the military to assist the police in guarding vital public facilities. The law, to be applied for two years, stipulates that those who attack these government facilities will be referred to military prosecutors and tried by a military court. These vital facilities include electric power stations and pylons, gas pipelines, oil fields, railway stations, roads networks and bridges, presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said. He added that Sisi issued the law following consultations with the National Defense Council, approval from the cabinet, and based on what was “envisaged” by the State Council. Sisi called on an urgent meeting with the National Defense Council after deadly attacks in North Sinai killed at least thirty-three security personnel. Experts fear that a new law giving the Armed Forces more authority to protect public and state facilities will broaden the jurisdiction of Egypt’s military courts. [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, IANS, Reuters, 10/27/2014]

Political parties and Brotherhood condemn Sinai attacks
Egyptian politicians stressed their support for the country’s military and its fight against militant violence in Sinai after attacks in the peninsula on Friday killed at least thirty-three soldiers. Statements from political parties and public figures on Saturday ranged from calling for international cooperation against terrorism to demanding a temporary evacuation of the area where the attacks took place. The Muslim Brotherhood says leaders of ‘the coup’ are responsible for the security failure. Its statement reads, “The Muslim Brotherhood believes the shedding of blood of any Egyptian is forbidden. The group holds the junta and its leaders responsible for the continued failure in the security, economic and social fields, as experienced by all the people, especially the people of the Sinai.” [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, DNE, 10/26/2014]

Also of Interest
Egyptian Wafd coalition insists on Moussa, rejects Ganzoury’s Initiative | Egypt Independent
Parties call for social dialogue over NGOs law | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Former NDP figures prepare for strong showing in Egypt’s parliamentary polls | Ahram Online
Sabbahi: Protests law unjust, unconstitutional and ‘stupid’ | Egypt Independent
No negotiation over the “martyrs’ ” blood, says Morsi | Aswat Masriya
Former Jamaa al-Islamiya figure says Sinai attack response to recent sentences against terrorists | Egypt Independent


Abdel-Fattah, twenty-three others detained; Others sentenced to prison
Alaa Abdel-Fattah and twenty-three other activists have been detained on the first day of their retrial for breaking the protest law. Judges also ordered the arrest of another defendant who did not attend the court session. The retrial will resume on November 11. Abdel-Fattah and twenty-four other activists are appealing their fifteen-year prison sentences for violating the protest law. On June 11, they were found guilty of organizing an illegal protest, rioting, destruction of public property and using violence against the security forces. They were released on September 15 pending their retrial. The Cairo Criminal Court also sentenced a group of activists who demonstrated in June against the Protest Law outside the Presidential Palace to three years imprisonment and a EGP 10,000 fine. Among the defendants are Sanaa Seif, Alaa’s sister, and her other sister, Mona Seif, a member of the No Military Trials of Civilians group. Lawyer of the twenty-three activists sentenced on Sunday to three years imprisonment has called the verdict “politically motivated” and says legal team plans to immediately appeal. [Ahram Online, AP, Egypt Independent,Aswat Masriya, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr, 10/27/2014]

Also of Interest
Court reduces prison sentences served to thirteen students | Aswat Masriya
Shura Council trial postponed to November 11 | DNE
Egypt’s police says Brotherhood torched Saudi consulate cars | Ahram Online
Five-year sentence for seventeen “Brotherhood supporters” for rioting in January | Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr


US affirms support to Egypt’s economy and its stability
The US Treasury Secretary renewed Washington’s strong support to Egypt’s economy and stability and reconfirmed the United States is committed to offer Egypt $200 million in aid assistance. He noted that small and medium size enterprises are the focus of assistance from the US and international financial institutions, since they are seen as the driving force of the economy. The Egyptian Finance Minister stated that Egypt does not intend to seek out another World Bank loan and aims to reduce the country’s reliance on aid. [KUNA, 10/27/2014]

Also of Interest
IIF predicts Egypt 2015 GDP growth to 3.7 percent | Egypt Independent
Government to add, amend investment laws | DNE, Ahram Online
Egypt Suez Canal revenue at $469.7 million in September | Egypt Independent, Reuters
Ministry to subsidize charter flights, starting November: Official | DNE
Egypt decides not to renew trade agreement with Turkey | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
Steel prices fall during October following new imported steel fees | DNE
Banking deposits grow 20.2 percent in July: IDSC | DNE
Investment ministry in asset-debt swap with National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr | DNE
Sisi gives green light to start establishing global logistics center | SIS
UAE firm set to produce 300,000 tons of wheat in Egypt’s Toshka | Reuters


Egypt chief editors pledge support for state institutions
Chief editors of both state and private daily newspapers said they would stop publishing “statements undermining state institutions” in the wake of major deadly attacks on security forces in Sinai. “We assert our commitment to freedom of speech … but we reiterate our rejection of attempts to doubt state institutions or insult the army or police or judiciary in a way that would reflect negatively on these institutions’ performance,” said the heads of seventeen dailies in a statement Sunday. The statement, published on the news portal al-Wafd, also said they would no longer publish statements “supportive of terrorism or that undermine state institutions directly or indirectly.” Editors asserted their “total confidence” in state institutions and their “support” for all procedures the government undertakes “to confront terrorism.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 10/27/2014]

Also of Interest
Egyptian TV host suspended for ‘demotivating the army’ | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Deputy minister accuses civil society of receiving funds from embassies | Aswat Masriya
Students stage more protests against violations | DNE
Egypt’s Pharmacists Syndicate under supervision again for affiliating with the Muslim Brotherhood | Ahram Online


Attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill security personnel; Government responds
Two attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed thirty-three security personnel on Friday, security sources said. Some twenty-eight soldiers were killed and another thirty injured when a car bomb exploded at the Karm Alkwadis security checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai Friday. Hours later, three security personnel were killed when militants opened fire at a checkpoint in nearby al-Arish. The death toll increased to thirty-three as of Monday. Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi called for an urgent meeting with the National Defense Council after the attacks. Following the meeting, Sisi declared a state of emergency in parts of North Sinai for three months, including an overnight curfew from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sisi also delegated implementation of the emergency law to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) convened Saturday afternoon with leaders from the Police Authority to coordinate efforts to “combat all forms of terrorism.” Sisi accused “foreign elements” of supporting the attacks in Sinai, vowing action against the Islamist insurgency. The armed forces confirmed Sunday that an Apache helicopter “carried out a number of airstrikes targeting hideouts and terrorist outposts in the al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai.” The strikes have destroyed ammunition storehouses and several vehicles. They also killed six suspected militants and injured eleven others. Egypt is considering relocating thousands of residents to enlarge a military buffer zone in Sinai near the border with Gaza. Cabinet spokesman Hossam al-Kaweesh explained that this is not displacement, but only evacuation of some areas that are threatened by recurrent confrontations. [The Guardian, SIS, Reuters, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 10/27/2014]

Also of Interest
Criticism of proposals to create military buffer zone in response to Sinai attacks | DNE
Low ranking Egyptian police officer killed in Sharqiya | DNE, Ahram Online, Mada Masr
MOI arrests twenty-nine alleged Muslim Brotherhood members I DNE
EU allocates €4.7 million for mine clearance in Egypt | DNE
Egyptian Policeman injured in North Sinai shooting Saturday morning | Ahram Online
Unidentified assailants set fire to municipal garage in Nile Delta’s Kafr al-Dawwar | Ahram Online
Man dies in Cairo clashes between police and Brotherhood | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
Blast in Gharbiya injures assailant, says ministry of interior | Aswat Masriya


Egypt calls on allies for support in its ‘war on terrorism’
Egyptian diplomats are set to meet with foreign ambassadors posted to Cairo to ask for their support in Egypt’s “fight against terrorism,” as Egypt escalates action against militants following attacks on Friday that killed thirty-three soldiers in Sinai. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was quoted as saying he would reach out to foreign diplomats in Cairo to appeal for more support “politically and economically.” The foreign minister’s aide for the Americas Mohamed Farid Moneeb met on Sunday with ambassadors from North and Latin America, a foreign affairs ministry press communiqué read. On Saturday, the United States and several European and Arab states all pledged their support to Egypt in combating militant violence. The United States pledged its continued support, as part of the strategic partnership between the two countries, for Egyptian government efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in Egypt, a US State Department communiqué said. Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond denounced the attacks, highlighting “UK support to the Egyptian government in their fight against terrorism.” France, Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia all condemned the attack. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew arrived in Cairo on Sunday to discuss increased cooperation in tackling the sources of funding for terrorists. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, State Department, 10/27/2014]

Defense minister calls for combat readiness on Egypt-Libya border
Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhi announced on Monday that all troops in the western region must be ready to counter possible terrorist threats on the Egyptian border with Libya. Sobhi urged the armed forces to increase combat effectiveness to “cope with risks and potential threats,” while “implementing all of the tasks entrusted to [the army] to protect Egyptian national security,” according to a statement on the defense ministry website. Egyptian sources have said that initial investigations of the Sinai massacre on Friday have shown that a number of the terrorists involved belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and were trained in eastern Libya. Moreover, it is being claimed that the weapons and munitions used in the attack bore Libyan serial numbers. The Sinai killings are being described as a retaliation for Egypt’s alleged involvement in air attacks in Libya and supply of weapons to pro-government forces. [DNE, Libya Herald, 10/27/2014]

Also of Interest
Shoukry in London to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation | DNE
Hamas responds to proposed Gaza buffer zone | DNE
Egypt postpones Cairo-based Palestinian-Israeli negotiations | Aswat Masriya, Reuters
PM, Iraqi envoy discuss promoting cooperation | SIS