The Egyptian army announced in a statement on Monday morning it conducted air strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) militants’ targets in Libya, including training camps and arms depots in three coastal Libyan cities. The army also released footage of the airstrikes. Libyan air force commander Saqr Jeroushi said the attacks were conducted in coordination with the Libyan Air Force. 


Wafd joins ‘For the Love of Egypt’ election list 
The liberal nationalist Wafd Party has confirmed it will join the “For the Love of Egypt” (FLE) electoral list for the parliamentary polls in March. President of the Wafd party al-Sayyed al-Badawy said his party would submit twenty of its candidates to the proportional lists system as part of FLE list led by retired intelligence official and security expert Sameh Seif al-Yazal. While the Wafd Party is already leading a coalition comprised of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and other lesser-known parties, the FLE is composed of several political and activist figures, most notably former Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Orabi, head of the Egyptian Trade Unions Federation Gebaly al-Maraghy and former Information Minister Ossama Heikal. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party has decided to move to another electoral list, Sahwat Misr (Egypt’s Renaissance). [Ahram OnlineEgypt Independent, 2/15/2015] 

Also of Interest 

  • Egypt extends period for parliament candidacy registration | Ahram OnlineEgypt Independent
  • Mubarak-era steel tycoon starts electoral campaign in Mounifeya | Egypt Independent
  • Sisi meets twelve new ambassadors | DNESIS
  • Prime minister forms committee to amend Internet laws | Egypt Independent
  • NGO: 25 percent surge in violence as candidates apply for elections | Egypt Independent
  • Aboul-Fotouh remains head of Strong Egypt Party after elections | Ahram Online
  • State Information Service is true failure: Trade minister | DNE


Morsi’s latest trial on spying charges postponed to February 28 
The Giza Criminal Court put the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on trial on Sunday over charges of endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar. Morsi described accusations of espionage as “a farce” as the court postponed his trial to February 28. Morsi remained defiant, insisting he was Egypt’s legitimate president despite facing several court cases. Later on Tuesday, the Suez public prosecutors referred to military trial 199 people, among them Morsi, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, leading Brotherhood figure Mohamed al-Beltagy, and Badie’s deputy Khairat al-Shater. They are due to appear in military court on February 23. The defendants are facing accusations of burning military vehicles and churches in Suez in August 2013, following the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins. [Ahram OnlineEgypt IndependentAPReutersThe GuardianAswat Masriya, 2/15/2015] 

Verdict in Shura Council Case scheduled for February 23 
The Cairo Criminal Court scheduled during its Monday session the announcement of the verdict in the Shura Council case for February 23. All twenty-five defendants standing trial, including activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, were arrested during the dispersal of a demonstration in front of the Shura Council in November 2011 while protesting against an article in the then-draft constitution which would allow for the military trial of civilians. The defendants stand accused of violating the protest law, thuggery, acquiring weapons during the protest, blocking roads, and attacking a police officer and stealing his radio. [DNEAswat Masriya, 2/16/2015] 

Also of Interest 

  • Photojournalist Shawkan’s detention extended indefinitely | DNE 
  • Trial banning Charlie Hebdo in Egypt postponed to March 15| DNE 


Egypt issues $1.12 billion in USD denominated treasury bills at average yield of 2.23 percent
Egypt’s central bank said it sold $1.12 billion in one-year, dollar-denominated treasury bills at an average yield of 2.23 percent at its auction on Monday. Egypt last sold $971.3 million in one-year treasury bills at an auction in January at an average yield of 2.125 percent. The government has mostly relied on the local money market to finance its deficit since early 2011, when the uprising unleashed a prolonged period of political and economic volatility that deterred many foreign investors. It plans to tap international investors for $1.5 billion in bonds this year. [Reuters, 2/16/2015] 

Also of Interest 

  • Egypt lines up $6.8 billion of Kuwaiti investment for energy projects | Reuters
  • Minister says US offers to supply Egypt with high quality poultry | Egypt Independent
  • Sharm al-Sheikh prepares for March economic conference | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s market continues fall as Egyptians sell | Ahram Online
  • Minister says hosting March economic summit will cost $15 million maximum | Egypt Independent
  • Orascom’s construction arm to list on Dubai, Egypt exchanges | AP
  • Cyprus, Egypt to explore ways of transporting offshore gas | AP
  • No trace of Russian ruble on Egyptian market | Egypt Independent
  • Trade deficit exceeds 26 billion Egyptian pounds in November | Mada Masr
  • Egypt signs gas import deal with American energy firm | Aswat Masriya
  • Ezz Steel posts Q3 loss of 285 million Egyptian pounds | Reuters
  • Arish economy suffers because of curfew | Egypt Independent


Families of slain Egyptian Copts call for action from authorities; Sisi visits St. Mark’s Cathedral 
Families of the slain men held symbolic funerals for them in their hometown in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya on Monday, where hundreds of mourners held pictures of the victims and banners calling for action from authorities. They have also demanded the bodies of their sons be returned “by any means.” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited the Cathedral of St Mark on Monday to extend condolences to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and a group of Egypt’s leading Bishops, following the beheading of twenty-one of the church’s followers in Libya.  Pope Tawadros II held a mass on Tuesday at the St. Mark Cathedral in Abbassiya in tribute to the twenty-one men. He requested bishops to hold masses at the churches in the hometowns of the victims for three days. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s leading Islamic institution, issued a ruling on Monday prohibiting Muslims from watching a video showing the beheading of the twenty-one Egyptians. Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, the Egyptian state’s authority responsible for issuing religious edicts, described it as an act empty of the “great tolerance of Islam.” He insisted that the militant group has no understanding of the meaning of the Holy Qur’an. Responding to a week long of national mourning announced by Egypt’s presidency, the Cairo Opera House has announced that it suspends all concerts across all of its venues, in Cairo, Alexandria and Damanhour, for seven days, starting Monday February 16. [DNEAhram OnlineAFPAP, 2/17/2015] 

Also of Interest 

  • Amnesty International calls for investigation of security officials | DNE
  • Egyptian football league to resume on February 19 | DNE
  • We did not expel journalists; we dismissed them says Dotmsr Board | DNE
  • Fans tortured at Giza police station after football stadium drama say lawyers | DNE
  • Activists, journalists commemorate Shaimaa al-Sabbagh on Valentine’s Day | DNE
  • Poll: 85 percent of Egyptian support airstrikes on ISIS in Libya | Egypt Independent
  • Two women die from bird flu, bringing 2015 death toll to eight | Ahram Online
  • Released Al Jazeera reporter wants Egyptian nationality back | Egypt Independent
  • White Knights say officers involved in stadium deaths identified | Egypt Independent
  • Poll: Only half of Egyptians deem state’s anti-terrorism measures successful | Egypt Independent
  • Jobless and desperate, Egyptians risk all in perilous Libya | Reuters


Egypt’s army forces deployed nationwide
Armed Forces spokesperson Mohamed Samir announced late Monday that the military was deploying its forces nationwide to “protect public and private properties, secure roads … and contribute to the capture of criminals and outlaws,”after Egypt launched a series of airstrikes against purported Islamic State (ISIS) holdouts in Libya early that morning.  Samir also posted several photos on his official Facebook page showing military tanks rolling down the streets. The National Defense Council decided to send its soldiers to the streets as a precautionary measure against any retaliation from domestic militant groups supporting ISIS, Major General Mokhtar Qandeel told the privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. [Ahram OnlineAswat MasriyaMada Masr, 2/15/2015] 

Egypt security forces discover longest Gaza smuggling tunnel 
Egyptian security officials say they have found a 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) smuggling tunnel leading into the Gaza Strip, the longest such passageway discovered in their crackdown on cross-border smuggling. They say the tunnel was operated by the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. Detonators and communications devices were among the devices found in the tunnel. Meanwhile, earlier on Saturday morning, a conscript and a police officer were injured during an attempt to bomb Sheikh Zuweid Police Station, as two car bombs approached the police station. Later on Monday night, unidentified gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in North Sinai’s al-Arish, injuring a conscript and two civilians, a police source said. Military operations by the Egyptian army, however, resulted in the deaths of nine suspected militants near North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid on Tuesday dawn. Six of the militants were killed in air raids, while three were killed in ground raids. . Senior members of the cabinet joined Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab on a visit to Central Security Forces camp in restive North Sinai on Saturday. [DNEAP, 2/16/2015] 

Also of Interest 


Egypt conducts airstrikes in Libya; Sisi calls for UN-backed coalition 
The Egyptian army announced in a statement on Monday morning it conducted air strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) militants’ targets in Libya, including training camps and arms depots in three coastal Libyan cities. The army also released footage of the airstrikes. Libyan air force commander Saqr Jeroushi said the attacks were conducted in coordination with the Libyan Air Force. The Egyptian air force launched a fresh round of strikes against militant targets in the Libyan city of Derna, on Monday afternoon. The airstrikes, said to have been carried out using six F-16s, killed at least sixty-four ISIS militants, including three leaders. On Sunday night, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt reserves the right to retaliate against the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Copts by ISIS  in Libya at the suitable time and place. ISIS militants had published earlier on Sunday a graphic video on the Internet  purportedly showing the beheading of Coptic Christians it said it had kidnapped. Egypt’s presidency confirmed the death of the Egyptian hostages and announced a week of mourning. Sisi also convened a meeting to draw up an evacuation plan for Egyptians in Libya leaving through Tunisia, hours after the airstrikes.  Sisi, together with French President Francois Hollande, called on the United Nation’s Security Council Tuesday for international intervention in Libya. Sisi added that creating a UN-backed coalition was the best course of action to rid Libya of Islamic extremists. The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session on Wednesday to discuss Libya. The European Union said Monday it will meet with the Egyptian and US governments this week to discuss joint action on Libya, but saw no EU role in any military intervention for now. The UK has also ruled out any military action against the extremist Islamic State group in Libya “at the moment.” Libya’s Tripoli-based parliament condemned the airstrikes saying it was “assault against Libyan sovereignty.” Islamist Libyan militia Fajr Libya, who control Tripoli, urged Libyans to protest the Egyptian air raids, and called on Egyptian workers to leave the country within 48 hours. The Mujahidin Shura  Council in the Libyan city of Derna, a sub-organization of radical Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, said the airstrikes resulted in the killing of several women and children, and vowed a “harsh response.” In related news, twenty-one Egyptian fishermen said to have been missing in Libya were released. Conflicting reports emerged on whether they were abducted or detained. According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, seven Egyptians have been kidnapped or missing in Libya since August and September 2014. [Ahram OnlineAPDNEReutersMada MasrThe Guardian, 2/17/2015] 

World leaders condemn ISIS killing of Egyptian Copts in Libya 
Governments around the world have condemned the beheadings of twenty-one Egyptian Christians in Libya by Islamic State (ISIS) militants. In a statement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest described the beheadings as a “despicable and cowardly murder” and called for a political settlement in war-torn Libya. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said, in a tweet, the murder of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians is a “cruel and barbaric act.” France’s President Francois Hollande said the killing was “savage.” The UN Security Council condemned the killing of Egyptian Coptic Christians and offered condolences to the families of the victims and Egypt’s government and people. Bahraini King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa said Manama “will back any measures Egypt sees as suitable to encounter such a terrorist organization” and support the international community in its endeavors to eradicate ISIS and cut its roots.” UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said “The United Arab Emirates is devoting all its resources to support the efforts of Egypt to eradicate terrorism and the violence directed against its citizens and reaffirms its total support for Egypt.” Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah offered condolences to Sisi, emphasizing his country’s backing to counterterrorism efforts of the international community.  Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Youssef al-Kordofani offered condolences to Egypt and the families of the beheaded Egyptians, stating Khartoum’s “solidarity” with Cairo. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered his condolences to Sisi and the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II. Abbas declared national mourning for three days. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his “readiness for closest cooperation possible in the fight against all aspects of the terrorism threat.” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the beheadings were a “vile crime targeting people on the basis of their religion. “Pope Francis condemned the killings, and offered his condolences to Pope Tawadros II. Human Right Watch called the killings a “war crime,” while urging investigations by Egypt and Libya into civilian casualties reportedly caused by the ensuing coordinated airstrikes on the extremists. [Ahram Online, 2/17/2015] 

Also of Interest 

  • Egypt and France sign Rafale jet fighters deal | Ahram OnlineAFPAPReuters
  • France hails ‘historic’ jet sale to Egypt despite rights concerns | AFP
  • Egypt seeks to ‘diversify’ weapon providers: Experts | DNE
  • Fifty Syrian, Palestinian refugees on hunger strike in Alexandria | DNE
  • Egypt condemns Copenhagen attacks | DNEAswat Masriya
  • Shoukry discusses Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Blair | DNE
  • Egyptian nuclear delegation heads to Moscow | Ahram OnlineEgypt Independent
  • Qatar’s Emir in Saudi Arabia for talks with new king; Egypt on the agenda | AP
  • Diplomat says resumption of Cairo-Tehran relations depends on Iran | Egypt Independent
  • Foreign minister says recent negotiations with Addis Ababa ‘fruitful’ | Egypt IndependentSIS