Top News: Car Bomb Kills Twelve Soldiers in Sinai

Twelve soldiers were killed, and at least thirty others wounded, in a car bombing incident in Kharouba near Arish, North Sinai, on Wednesday morning. Assailants also attacked a police checkpoint in eastern Cairo in the early hours of Wednesday morning, injuring four policemen with a homemade bomb. 

Support for Egyptian cabinet declines: Poll
Twenty-four percent of Egyptians think the performance of the current government, headed by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy, is “good,” according to a poll released Wednesday by private polling organization Baseera. Thirty-three percent said the government’s performance was “average”, while 22 percent said it was “bad.” The new poll shows a marked drop in the popularity of the current government. In a poll by Baseera at the end of September, 37 percent of Egyptians said the performance of the government was good. The percentage of those who believe the government’s performance is good is 21 percent among young people in the age group 18 to 29 years, but the percentage rises to 28 percent among those in the age group 50 years and over. Geographically, the percentage of those satisfied with government performance is 27 percent in Lower Egypt, but it drops to 23 percent in Upper Egypt, compared to 19 percent in urban governorates. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 11/20/2013]

No reconciliation with Brotherhood, president urges
Interim President Adly Mansour has dismissed reconciliation initiatives with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Mansour, talking on the sidelines of the Arab-African summit in Kuwait, was asked by reporters whether Egypt’s government would consider initiatives for reconciliation with the Brotherhood. “Reconciliation with whom?” he responded. “The people are on one side and the group and its supporters are on the other,” he claimed. “Is it ok to reconcile with a criminal? As a state, we reject that.” The interim president also said Egypt had an inclusive political process. [Egypt Independent, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt president urges voting in constitutional referendum | Ahram Online, SIS


Morsi lawyer refuses to internationalize case
The Freedom and Justice Party spokesperson Hamza Zoaba said that hundreds of lawyers were ready to defend toppled President Mohamed Morsi before Egyptian courts and before the International Court of Justice. Morsi’s defense team spokesperson Mohamed al-Damaty, meanwhile, rejected talk about internationalizing the case unless they fail to claim their rights in Egyptian courts. Damaty added that Morsi’s defense team is not linked to the international team tasked with filing a lawsuit against coup leaders before the International Court. [Egypt Independent, 11/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Groups announce minimum constitutional demands | DNE
Azhar refuses to extend freedom of worship to non-monotheistic religions in draft constitution | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
Former supply minister detained for another fifteen days | DNE


Egypt sees wheat self-sufficiency for subsidy program by 2019
Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, can achieve self-sufficiency in wheat for its bread subsidy program by 2019 if silo storage capacity is raised by 1 million tonnes annually, the agriculture minister said. Though self-sufficiency has been cited by successive governments as a goal, Agriculture Minister Ayman Abou Hadid for the first time provided explicit details. “What I mean by self-sufficiency is self-sufficiency in the wheat used to make the subsidised loaves of bread. This is 9 million tonnes,” Abou Hadid told Reuters in an interview on Monday. “We can achieve it six years from now on condition that every year we can build silos adding 1 million tonnes capacity at least.” Egypt’s current silo storage capacity is 1.5 million tonnes but the United Arab Emirates pledged part of its $4.9 billion aid package to Egypt to build 25 new wheat silos, each with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes. This would bring the country’s storage capacity to 3 million tonnes by mid-2014.  Meanwhile, Egypt bought 120,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia through new global tenders, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) said on Tuesday. The shipment is expected to be delivered between December 11 and 20. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s bank Profits to be flat In 2013 – Central.Bank Official | DNE, Ahram Online
Stock market earns EGP 2.4 billion Tuesday | Egypt Independent, DNE


Clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud anniversary leave two dead, seventeen injured
A ministry of health official has said that seventeen people were injured nationwide on Tuesday, as various demonstrations took place to commemorate the anniversary of violent clashes in 2011. Two men were killed, both deaths caused by birdshot. Two al-Masdar News Network reporters were arrested in Abbasiya, while three protesters were arrested in Mansoura University during a march organized by the Revolutionary Front. In Cairo, Egypt’s security forces fired heavy rounds of teargas in Tahrir in the late hours of Tuesday, dispersing around 200 protesters who had remained in the square to commemorate the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes. Most of the few thousand protesters who marked the second anniversary of the clashes in the iconic square had left by 10 p.m. after organizers of the commemoration ended their vigil. Earlier in the evening, dozens of the protesters had clashed with police forces deployed at the nearby Arab League headquarters. The clashes followed a day of largely peaceful protests in the vicinity of Tahrir Square. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, SIS, Reuters, DNE, 11/20/2013]

Twenty-four arrested during clashes near Al-Azhar
Twenty-four “rioters” were arrested after students tried to storm the Al-Azhar University headquarters, according to an Interior Ministry statement. Around 1,000 students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood made the attempt on campus on Wednesday but security forces dispersed the crowds, the statement claimed. Meanwhile, Anti-Coup Students said on its Facebook page that security forces and thugs attacked the students and chased them with teargas, injuring tens of them. [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Investigations: Workers of Dahshour train crossing drug-free, driver did not speed | Egypt Independent


Car bomb kills twelve soldiers in Sinai; Bomb thrown at police checkpoint in Cairo
Twelve soldiers were killed, and at least thirty others wounded, in a car bombing incident in Kharouba near Arish, North Sinai, on Wednesday morning. A military source told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the initial inspection of the site of the blast showed the use of explosive TNT with large amounts, which caused the steep rise in the number of victims. A parked car blew up as an army convoy passed by on the road between al-Arish and Rafah on Wednesday morning, a security source told state news agency MENA. Security forces cut off all means of communication in North Sinai, including landlines, cellphone networks and internet service, right after the explosion, while troops and Apache helicopters have been combing the area for the perpetrators. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. Egypt’s army has vowed to press ahead with its “war” against Islamist militancy in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Assailants also attacked a police checkpoint in eastern Cairo in the early hours of Wednesday morning, injuring four policemen with a homemade bomb. [Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Reuters, DNE, AP, Mada Masr, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sinai militants claim responsibility for Cairo killing | Ahram Online, DNE, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), SIS  


Ankara denies inciting Cairo clashes
The Turkish foreign ministry has denied instigating Tuesday’s clashes in Cairo after allegations were made in the Egyptian media. “Some media outlets in Egypt have mentioned Turkey as one of the instigators of the November 19 clashes. We are saddened by these reports which are completely baseless. We are confident that the brotherly people of Egypt will not heed these reports. Turkey’s only wish is the peace and wellbeing of Egypt,” said an official statement on the ministry’s official website. Several Egyptian newspapers and TV shows have accused Turkish intelligence of plotting with the Muslim Brotherhood to instigate unrest on the second anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes. [Ahram Online, 11/20/2013]

Russia prepared to invest in Egyptian nuclear energy: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said his country is prepared to back numerous projects in Egypt, including nuclear energy, as the two nations strengthen their bond. Speaking on Tuesday to Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Lavrov described Egypt as a “major power” and an ally of Russia, noting that Russia is the largest “supplier” of both tourists and grain to the Arab World’s most populous country. “We are friends with the Egyptian people and the Egyptian people are well-disposed to us,” said Lavrov. [DNE, 11/20/2013]

Also of Interest:
Hamas says communication ongoing with Egypt, hopes for more channels | Ahram Online

Image: Photo: Egypt Armed Forces