Top News: Egypt Court Orders Morsi Detention Over Hamas Collaboration

A top Egyptian court has ordered the detention of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for fifteen days pending investigations into his suspected collaboration with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Morsi is accused of collaborating with Hamas to escape from Wadi al-Natroun Prison and destroy prison records during the 2011 uprising, attack police stations during the uprising, the intentional killing and abduction of police officers and prisoners during the uprising, and espionage. 


Egypt army gives Brotherhood forty-eight hours to join roadmap: official
Egypt’s army gave the Muslim Brotherhood until Saturday afternoon to sign up to political reconciliation, a military official said on Thursday, after the army issued a veiled threat to use tougher tactics against the group. “We will not initiate any move, but will definitely react harshly against any calls for violence or black terrorism from Brotherhood leaders or their supporters. We pledge to protect peaceful protesters regardless of their affiliation,” the official said, saying they had forty-eight hours to comply. Earlier, the army signaled it would change its strategy for dealing with “violence and terrorism” after protests it has called on Friday. In a statement posted on a Facebook page affiliated to the army command, the military said it was ready to turn its guns on anyone involved in either. On Friday, the armed forces also issued a brief statement on its Facebook page saying that its official social media pages and military spokesman are the only sources of information for military-related issues. [Reuters, Shorouk (Arabic), 7/26/2013]

Tamarod demands expulsion of US ambassador
The Tamarod movement has called for the expulsion of US ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson. Tamarod leader Mohamed Abdel Aziz, speaking during a press conference Thursday called by national political forces to declare rallies in support of the Egyptian armed forces said Patterson is not welcome in Egypt and should be expelled. [Egypt Independent, 7/26/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s generals back in favor after first flawed transition | Reuters
Dostour Party: Military mandate is not to attack protesters, but to fight terrorism | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt court orders Morsi detention over Hamas collaboration

A top Egyptian court has ordered the detention of ousted President Mohamed Morsi for fifteen days pending investigations into his suspected collaboration with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Morsi is accused of collaborating with Hamas to escape from Wadi al-Natroun Prison and destroy prison records during the 2011 uprising, attack police stations during the uprising, the intentional killing and abduction of police officers and prisoners during the uprising, and espionage. Friday’s step provided legal grounds for the continued detention of Morsi, who has been held by the military since he was ousted. A spokesman for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood rejected the accusations, saying they showed “the complete bankruptcy of the leaders of the bloody coup.” Former Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil issued a video statement on Thursday condemning army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s recent speech and defending Morsi. Qandil proposed an initiative on Thursday to free Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have been arrested for alleged charges of incitement of violence in return for an implicit commitment to end the pro-Morsi demonstrations and sit-ins all, but it fell on deaf official ears. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, Reuters, Mada Masr, 7/26/2013]

Egypt’s Judges Club expels seventy-five pro-Morsi members
Seventy-five judges have been expelled from Egypt’s Judges Club after they called for the reinstatement of former President Mohamed Morsi. The expulsions were made at an emergency meeting of the club’s high board on Tuesday because the judges had “backed a particular political party, which deviates from judicial traditions and its values of neutrality, impartiality and non-partisanship.” The seventy-five judges released a signed statement on Wednesday denouncing the “overthrow of elected President Mohamed Morsi” which was an “attack on legitimacy.” [Ahram Online, 7/25/2013]


IMF says still not talking to Egypt’s interim government
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday it will not engage in talks about a possible $4.8 billion loan to Egypt until the country’s interim government gains recognition from the international community. IMF deputy spokesman William Murray repeated that the Fund has not been in touch with the current government in Egypt, only with bureaucrats on the technical level. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi claimed Friday that the United States stands ready to back Egypt as negotiations for a planned IMF loan continue. Egyptian state television meanwhile reported that US Treasury Secretary, Jack Liu, said Washington would stand ready to support the Egyptian economy. [Reuters, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 7/26/2013]

Egypt’s new finance minister plans stimulus, not austerity
Egypt interim government will seek to avoid major austerity measures and instead work to stimulate the economy by improving security and pumping in new funds, new finance minister, Ahmed Galal, said on Thursday. “One of the important tools to deal with the budget deficit is stimulating the economy,” Galal told reporters at a briefing. “Stimulating the economy means tax revenues will increase and, in turn, the deficit will decrease.” An important step would also be to improve security and political stability after thirty months of political turmoil since Hosni Mubarak was toppled as president in a popular uprising. [Reuters, 7/25/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian pound value rises following influx of aid from Gulf | Ahram Online
Egypt stocks continue slide ahead of weekend protests | Ahram Online


Egypt’s rival rallies underway in Cairo
A deeply polarized Egypt braced for bloodshed on Friday in rival mass rallies summoned by the army that ousted the state’s first freely elected president and by the Islamists who back him. Thousands of protesters flocked to Tahrir Square early on Friday following a call for demonstrations by Egypt’s military leaders. Thousands of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi also took to the streets against what they regard as a military coup marching towards Raba’a al-Adaweya. Both camps have already massed in force in Cairo and across Egypt even before the protests planned gathering time. A state of calm prevailed at the defense ministry headquarters on Friday amid heavy security presence in the area. Several thousands of Morsi supporters rallied at al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria after Friday noon prayer to participate in demonstrations calling for his return. Meanwhile, Sayed Morsi, ousted president’s brother in an interview expressed support of Egypt’s military. Views in the Morsi family’s home village of al-Adwa reflect how many Egyptians feel about their military: its generals are fallible but as an institution it can bring a degree of stability and security to a country weary of political chaos. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 7/26/2013]

‘Third Square’ protesters reject Morsi, army
While deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters began marches around Cairo and as their opponents took to the streets in response to an army call for support to fight terrorism, a small group of people opposed to both camps made their position known in Sphinx Square. They refer to themselves as “the Third Square.”  In a leaflet distributed in the protest they describe themselves as “a group of Egyptians who protested on January 25 against the corruption of the [Hosni] Mubarak state… protested against [former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshal Hussein] Tantawi’s men who gave the army a bad name during the transitional period and protested against Morsi and religious fascism in order to call for early elections.” The leaflet says that they are protesting today against the army playing a role in politics and against “the defense minister calling for an authorization to kill Egyptians on the pretext of fighting terrorism when fighting terrorism does not require a mandate because that is the duty of the Armed Forces.” [Mada Masr, 7/26/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt rights groups voice misgiving about army’s call for rallies | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent
Opinion: Egypt’s “war on terror” | Egypt Independent


Armed forces: Sixty tribes in Sinai mandate Sisi to fight terrorism

Elders of tribes and clans and representatives of more than sixty Arab tribes in North and South Sinai, Matrouh, and South Egypt have declared their full support for defense minister and army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s invitation,” the spokesman said. Two security personnel were killed and up to four wounded in the latest in a series of attacks on security checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai late Thursday afternoon. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, 7/26/2013]

Eighteen injured in clashes in Shoubra and Damietta
Scuffles broke out between residents of the Shoubra area and demonstrators supporting former President Mohamed Morsi near Khazendar Mosque after Friday noon prayers. The scuffles began when Morsi supporters started gathering at the mosque, an Aswat Masriya eyewitness reported. The ministry of health announced that the clashes left ten injured,, with some suffering from birdshot wounds. They also said that clashes in Damietta left eight injured. [Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, Ahram (Arabic), 7/26/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian museum under guard for Friday, minister says | Egypt Independent


Hamas slam decision to detain Morsi
Hamas has responded to a decision to arrest ousted President Mohamed Morsi pending investigations into charges of espionage, claiming the move represents a “political decision ahead of [it] being a judicial one.” Hamas officials meanwhile criticized the arrest order as an attempt to appease the United States and Israel by involving the Islamic movement in events it has no links to. Hamas said on Friday that Egyptian authorities “are evading national issues and the Palestinian cause.” Meanwhile, authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Thursday closed local offices of Al-Arabiya TV and Palestinian news agency Maan for alleged “false” reporting of Hamas helping Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. [Egypt Independent, DNE, AP, 7/26/2013]

United States will not declare whether coup occurred in Egypt, White House urges restraint by Egyptian military
The Obama administration told lawmakers Thursday that it won’t declare Egypt’s government overthrow a coup, US officials and lawmakers said, allowing the United States to continue providing $1.5 billion in annual military and economic aid to the Arab world’s most populous country. Briefing members of Congress, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told them the administration was not legally bound to draw any conclusion whether or not the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi should be designated a coup, and that to make such a declaration would not be in the US interest, the official said. Meanwhile, the White House on Thursday urged the Egyptian military to exercise “maximum restraint” and to do its utmost to prevent clashes between rival protesters. White House spokesman Josh Earnest also said Washington was concerned about “any rhetoric that inflames tension” after Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on Egyptians to take to the streets to show their support. [AP, Reuters, 7/26/2013]

Also of Interest:
No serious crisis in Egypt-US relations, diplomats say | Ahram Online
Ban Ki-moon calls for Morsi’s release | DNE
UN decries growing “anti-Syrian” hostility in Egypt | Ahram Online
UK ‘very concerned’ about Sisi’s call for demonstrations | Ahram Online
Foreign minister receives British and Norwegian diplomats | DNE