Top News: Eight Mexican Nationals, Four Egyptians Accidentally Killed by Egyptian Forces

Egyptian security forces accidentally killed twelve Egyptian and Mexican members of a tour group in the Western Desert after mistaking them for terrorists, the Interior Ministry said Monday. Ten people were injured in the attack, the Interior Ministry said. The Egyptian prosecution confirmed that seven of the twelve dead were Mexican nationals and that the other bodies were still at the site of the incident pending inspection, Al-Ahram reported. Security and judicial officials later told Reuters the number of Mexican tourists killed rose to eight. Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy subsequently stated that one of those injured was American. The Interior Ministry said in a statement, “A joint police and army force were chasing terrorist elements in the Western Desert area of al-Wahat and they engaged by mistake with four four-wheel drives belonging to Mexican tourists who were present in a restricted area.” Mexican Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu said Mexicans wounded in the attack said they were subject to an aerial attack from aircraft. While authorities state the convoy was in the area illegally, an adviser to the Tourism Ministry said a police escort was provided to the tourist convoy. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned the attack, urging Egypt to conduct an “exhaustive” investigation. Meanwhile, following a visit by Egypt’s acting Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to the injured Mexican citizens, he said, “The circumstances surrounding the incident are part of Egypt’s fight against terrorism. The Mexican side is receiving the best care and we will take care of the Egyptian victims.” Mexico’s Embassy in Cairo said it’s cancelling its independence day celebration scheduled for Tuesday at the mission in the Egyptian capital. On Sunday, the Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate released a statement saying it had repelled an attack by the Egyptian military in the western desert.  [Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, The Guardian, 9/14/2015]


Egypt cabinet resigns, Sisi picks Petroleum Minister for new Prime Minister
Egypt’s cabinet has resigned but will stay on in a caretaker role until a new government is formed, a statement from the office of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday. It was not immediately clear why the government resigned but officials told Reuterson condition of anonymity that Sisi had been unhappy with the performance of several ministries. The announcement, which was met with approval among Egyptian political parties, comes almost one week after authorities arrested Egypt’s Agriculture Minister over corruption allegations. Several other ministers have also been implicated in corruption cases, which may have contributed to the cabinet’s resignation. Mostafa Huseini, the head of Alexandria’s Appeal Court, said Sunday that outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, who had a 53 percent approval rating before his resignation, is mentioned by name in the corruption trial known as the “presidential palaces case,” though no charges have been directed against him by the court. Mahlab, who submitted his resignation after returning from a trip to Tunisia, was asked by a local journalist in Tunisia if he is implicated in the legal case. Mahlab refused to answer the question posed by the journalist and left the conference hall abruptly. Sisi has entrusted Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail with forming a new government within a week. Ahram Onlineand Mada Masrhave prepared profiles of Ismail. Ismail began formal consultations to form a new cabinet on Sunday, while a high-level government source reported that half of the current ministers will not be included in the new cabinet. Among those reportedly remaining are the interior, defense, and foreign ministers. According to the source, two new ministries will also be introduced, including a ministry for Egyptian expatriates and another for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Ismail has also said that the cabinet will develop short and long term plans to achieve specific goals, including improving services provided to citizens. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 9/13/2015]

Almost 6,000 apply for parliamentary elections; For the Love of Egypt wins fifteen uncontested seats
Around 900 people applied Saturday to run in Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections, bringing the total number of prospective candidates so far to 5,936. The door for filing applications to run in the elections closed on Saturday. In Qena and Qous, however, the deadline for applications was extended to September 15 after a court ruling on redrawing constituency boundaries concerning independent seats. The For the Love of Egypt (FLE) electoral list said it won fifteen seats in seven provinces after no other list fielded candidates in the same constituencies before nominations closed. Egypt’s center-left electoral list Sahwet Misr, meanwhile, decided to withdraw late Friday from the upcoming parliamentary elections, according to a statement by the list. The coalition cited the High Elections Committee’s “costly” decision to require candidates to retake medical checkups after an Administrative Court ruling said accepting medical checkups conducted in February was a violation of the House of Representatives law. The Salafist Nour Party announced in an official statement that it is going to run only for two party-based electoral lists in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Finally, a ruling by the Administrative Court of Alexandria determined on Saturday that people under police custody will be permitted to run in the elections. According to the court’s verdict, administrative detention is not a penalty, but rather “an investigative measure.” [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 9/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s 2014 constitution was written with good intentions but is not enough, says Sisi | Ahram Online


Court upholds twelve death sentences for ISIS affiliation
An Egyptian court sentenced twelve citizens to death Saturday on charges of being part of Sinai State, the peninsula’s Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) affiliated militant group. The defendants were accused of forming a terrorist cell aimed at overthrowing the government, targeting security personnel and disrupting the provisions of the constitution in the Delta governorate of Sharqiya. A key defendant in the case, Khaled Maghawry, is accused of “recruiting youths and sending them to Syria and Iraq to receive training on how to use weapons.” Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia while the rest are behind bars. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 9/12/2015]

Court ruling brings possibility of dissolving religious parties to reality
A controversial ruling by the Administrative Judiciary Court on Saturday compelled the Political Parties Affairs Commission to revise the constitutionality and legality of eleven parties with religious bases.
The decision has drawn varying reactions from politicians and activists. The court ruled on a lawsuit by constitutional expert and lawyer Essam al-Islamboly that was based on a report drafted by the lawyer demanding the dissolution of the eleven parties in question. The report was supported by documents that claim the parties’ programs include items that violate the constitution. Egypt’s constitution states that it is illegal to form political parties with religious bases, or based on discrimination according to gender, race or according to sectarian or geographical bases. The parties in the court ruling include the Nour, Wasat, Strong Egypt, Building and Development, and Watan parties. [DNE, 9/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Turkey-based TV host sentenced to eight years in prison | DNE
  • Court hears major testimonies in Kareem Hamdy killing case | DNE
  • Prisoner speaks out about inhumane detention at al-Aqrab prison | AMAY
  • Six Brotherhood supporters sentenced to ten years for assembly | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s IMF visit to take place despite cabinet changes
The visit of the International Monetary Fund delegation is set to take place in mid-September as scheduled, with no delays despite the government’s resignation, IMF’s communication officer Randa al-Nagar said. “The IMF mission will be visiting Egypt soon and will conduct a mid-term review and maybe the hierarchy of the whole economy and not just the general budget,” Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said in a recent interview. On revising the mid-term budget deficit, the Minister added that he imagines “it will happen during the first quarter of the next year.” [DNE 9/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Crunch time ahead for Egypt’s economy, investment needed | AP
  • High level German businessmen delegation visit Egypt | DNE
  • Egyptian pound lifts in parallel market, as government reshuffle eases pressure on demand | Aswat
  • Masriya
  • The Egyptian Exchange gains EGP 1.8 billion, index up 0.6 percent | SIS
  • Central Bank of Egypt determined to eliminate parallel currency market, make speculators incur heavy losses says Ramez | DNE
  • Value-added tax to raise Egyptian government revenue by 11 percent study shows | Ahram Online
  • Egypt needs strong government able to make bold decisions say bankers | DNE


Hundreds of public employees protest new civil service law
Hundreds of government employees gathered in Cairo’s Fustat Park to protest the new civil service law on Saturday, although the tax authority employees who have thus far been the main campaigners against the planned legislation were absent. The protests were called for by Solidarity, a coalition of thirty labor syndicates and six worker associations who had previously dubbed plans to implement the law “unconstitutional.” As protesters gathered outside the park, police sealed off the main entrance and claimed maintenance works were taking place, although no such work was evident, according to Mada Masr reporters present. The media spokesperson for Fustat Park, Randa al-Rawwas, confirmed that no renovations or maintenance work were being undertaken in the park. [Ahram Online, DNE, 9/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Heavy rain in Red Sea strands group of tourists in Egypt’s Luxor | Ahram Online
  • Novelist slams president over Constitution remarks | AMAY


Egypt military says it has killed ninety-eight militants in Sinai operation
The Egyptian military continued its military operation, ‘The Martyr’s Right,’ over the weekend, targeting militants in North Sinai. According to Egypt’s Military Spokesman, ninety-eight militants were killed on Friday, sixty-four on Saturday, and fifty-three on Sunday. This brings the total number of militant deaths to 349, and total arrests to 292 according to a timeline of the operation posted by Daily News Egypt. The operation originally began on September 7.  [Ahram Online, Reuters, DNE, AFP, SIS, 9/14/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Police officer dies in Zagazig following attack | DNE
  • Two militants involved in attacks against security forces killed says Interior Ministry | Aswat Masriya
  • Two suspected ‘takfiri’ militants killed following clashes | DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt officials say Sinai militants kill one civilian, wound four | AP


No Egyptian ground troops in Yemen says Saudi-led coalition spokesman
Saudi Military Spokesman General Ahmed Asiri dismissed on Friday reports that Egyptian and Sudanese ground troops have been deployed in Yemen. In an interview with Saudi state TV on Tuesday, Asiri criticized media reports claiming that Egypt has recently sent 800 ground troops to Yemen, describing the reports as “inaccurate.” He added, “If there were any of those troops [Egyptian and Sudanese] on the ground, we would have immediately announced the news as it is not a secret.” [Ahram Online, 9/11/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Five hundred thousand Syrian refugees were received in Egypt, says Sisi | DNE
  • Egypt says Israel’s storming of Al-Aqsa mosque ‘unacceptable escalation’ | Ahram Online, DNE, AFP, Aswat Masriya, SIS
  • Two Egyptians dead in Mecca disaster: Health official | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Number of Egyptians injured in Mecca disaster rises to twenty-three says health official | Ahram Online
  • Egypt eyeing French Mistral warships: AFP | Ahram Online
  • Foreign Ministry confirms seventy-five US troops to bolster Sinai peacekeepers | DNE
  • Egypt to host Interpol meetings | SIS
  • Egypt lauds international efforts to achieve political settlement in Libya | SIS
  • UAE minister hails Egypt for restoring leading role in region | SIS