Top News: Egyptian Army Blocks Aid Convoy to Gaza; Additional Convoy en Route to Gaza

Egypt’s army prevented an aid convoy of medical supplies from crossing the border to the Palestinian Gaza Strip on Thursday, the popular campaign to support Gaza has said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Egyptian military intelligence services allowed another aid convoy to support Gaza to pass through one of the checkpoints en route to the Palestinian strip, after it was halted briefly at Ismailia.


Moussa rejects NDP members from parliamentary alliance
Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and chairman of the 50-member committee which drafted Egypt’s new constitution, says he won’t let members of Hosni Mubarak’s defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) join a political alliance he formed with hopes of winning a majority in the coming parliament. Sources said that Moussa decided that his alliance – called the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation – would rather join forces with all other political groups, as long as they believe in a civil state that does not mix religion with politics. On July 14, Cairo’s Appeal Court for Urgent Matters ruled that leading officials of Mubarak’s NDP could stand in parliamentary elections, overturning an earlier ban. Moussa’s move came upon the request of political forces that approved joining his alliance. [Ahram Online, 7/23/2014]

Also of Interest:
Sisi speaks to the nation Thursday | Ahram Online, SIS
HEC, Foreign Ministry discuss expatriates voting in parliamentary polls | SIS
Mahlab: Toshka to be revitalized to become national development project | SIS, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
Minister of Planning: administrative reform is a top priority | EGYNews (Arabic)
Minister of Interior on surprise tour of Suez Canal waterway | Shorouk (Arabic)
Strong Egypt Party: Egyptian national security and support for Palestinians are linked | Shorouk (Arabic)
Nour Party accuses state of disrupting parliamentary elections | AMAY (Arabic)
Housing minister calls for division of provinces | AMAY (Arabic)
Head of Supreme Judicial Council: Brotherhood will not return in next parliament | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
Union workers demand certification for parliamentary candidates | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt newspapers publish legal reasoning of Al Jazeera case
On Wednesday, Egyptian newspapers published the legal reasoning behind the case of the Al Jazeera journalists, issued by the Giza Court of Felonies, presided over by Justice Mohamed Nagy. According to the reasoning, the verdict rests on several key principles, which have provoked controversy amongst human rights observers in terms of their legality: The court accepted the premise that a reasonable link between the journalists and the Muslim Brotherhood had been established; they were found using video editing and broadcast equipment without authorization; editing software was proof of an attempt to disseminate false news and tarnish Egypt’s image; possession of an empty tear gas canister and a spent bullet constituted weapons possession; and arguments claiming the police acted on an invalid arrest warrant based on unfounded claims were rejected. Click here to read the Arabic text of the legal reasoning. [Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 7/24/2014]

Also of Interest:
Prosecution accepts appeal for release of five al-Azhar students | Shorouk (Arabic)
Appeal submitted before Administrative Court on decision on Brotherhood funds | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egyptian oil company added to EU trade sanctions list
Maadi-based oil trader Tri Oceans Trading has been added to a list of companies sanctioned by the European Union. The company has been accused of “providing support to the Syrian regime and benefiting from the regime by organizing covert shipments of oil to the regime,” and will have any assets in the European Union frozen. [Mada Masr, 7/24/2014]

Egypt seeks to clinch LNG deal with Algeria, but will pay high price
Egypt is set for an expensive price tag as it seeks to clinch a deal to import much-needed liquefied natural gas from Algeria, according to people familiar with talks between the two countries. Late last month gas-rich Algeria agreed in principle to supply Egypt with roughly five cargoes containing 145,000 cubic meters of LNG each before the end of the year. [WSJ, 7/23/2014]

Also of Interest:
Interview: ‘We have lots of unused resources’: Ahmed Galal, former finance minister | Ahram Online
Egypt’s biggest private bank reports 31 percent growth in net profits | Ahram Online
Offshore platform to produce 150 million cubic feet of gas per day by 2016 | Egypt Independent
Egyptian pound stable at central bank sale, stronger on black market | Reuters
Transport minister makes surprise visits to South Sinai ports | SIS
CIB reports record profits this year | Mada Masr
Sinai Cement converting to use coal | Mada Masr
Patent applications decline by seven percent in 2013 | EGYNews (Arabic)
Plan being implemented to raise efficiency of Egyptian airports | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egyptian army blocks aid convoy to Gaza; Additional convoy en route to Gaza
Egypt’s army prevented an aid convoy of medical supplies from crossing the border to the Palestinian Gaza Strip on Thursday, the popular campaign to support Gaza has said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Egyptian military intelligence services allowed another aid convoy to support Gaza to pass through one of the checkpoints en route to the Palestinian strip, after it was halted briefly at Ismailia. The convoy, which is carrying medical supplies, has crossed Al Qantara port in Ismailia, the popular campaign to support Gaza told Aswat Masriya. It is expected to reach the Rafah crossing, where the supplies will be handed over to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). The PRCS will distribute the aid to hospitals in Gaza, one of the activists in the convoy said. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 7/24/2014]

Also of Interest:
Gallup ranks Egypt ‘third most negative country’, but silver linings remain | DNE
NASL calls for ‘Martyrs’ Week’ protests starting Friday | Egypt Independent
Cairo University denies presidency rejected its EGP20 million donation to Long Live Egypt fund | Egypt Independent
April 6 movement launches initiative to provide detainees with books | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Egypt army destroys rockets smuggled from Gaza
Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula have destroyed a vehicle laden with Grad rockets being smuggled from the Gaza Strip through a tunnel, a security source in the army told Aswat Masriya. Troops targeted the vehicle during a raid early Thursday in the North Sinai town of Rafah. Militants in the south of the town were planning to use the weaponry to fire at Israel, the source said, as hostilities between Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, the dominant force in Gaza, rage on. Army forces also killed three extremists and injured two others in a security crackdown in North Sinai on Wednesday night, the army spokesman said in a statement on their official Facebook page. “The three extremists were carrying rockets on their way to the Egyptian borders, when the army blew up their car,” the statement explained. [Ahram Online, 7/24/2014]


Kerry makes second stop in Cairo for Gaza ceasefire talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo late Wednesday from Tel Aviv to push ahead with efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the embattled Gaza Strip, state news agency MENA said. On Wednesday, the top US diplomat left the Egyptian capital to hold marathon talks with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem. While there, he said global efforts to end 16 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Wednesday that the Egyptian ceasefire initiative does not “include the conditions” of either side. He said this was to decrease tensions, end fighting, open the border crossing to permit aid first, then to have both sides hold talks on all issues. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gave a press conference on Wednesday evening saying that any truce must include opening Gaza’s borders and ending the more than seven-year-long blockade imposed by Israel on the Palestinian strip. Meanwhile, on Thursday, the head of Egypt’s Walid Abdel Nasser diplomatic mission to the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva called on providing international protection for the Palestinians and an immediate halt to the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Finally, Major General Ahmed Abdel Halim, claimed on Wednesday, that the United States was pressing for Qatar and Turkey’s involvement in the Gaza ceasefire initiative. [Ahram Online, AP, 7/24/2014]

Also of Interest:
Source: Flights from Cairo to Tel Aviv as scheduled | Egypt Independent
Chief of Staff of Armed Forces meets with Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
Mission sent to Libya-Tunisia border to assist Egyptian citizens | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
Sisi approves credit facility between Egyptian government and French Development Agency | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Leading Palestinian Islamic Jihad member: Egypt should back Hamas, end media incitement | Ahram Online