The Antiquities Ministry’s decision to demolish a Hellenistic-era archaeological site in Alexandria was carried out on Thursday, destroying the ancient ruins and leveling the area into a flat lot. The site of al-Abd Theater in Camp Shizar, which was discovered in 2013, dates back to the Roman and Hellenistic eras 323 BC and lies in a residential neighborhood just a block inland from the Mediterranean coast. 


Sisi speaks on terrorism, Yemen crisis, and parliamentary elections
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi visited Cairo’s military academy on Friday, days after a bomb attack killed two army cadets in the northern governorate of Kafr al-Sheikh. In his speech, Sisi said that the number of terrorist attacks, which he said had increased recently, were “cowardly acts” and that those who led the operation have no other means at their disposal. Sisi also spoke about military operations in Yemen, denying media reports that Egypt had dispatched ground troops to support the Saudi-led Decisive Storm campaign which has been targeting Houthi rebels since May. Sisi said that Egypt had only deployed air and naval forces to the conflict, that should the state send any other forces, it will be made public. Sisi also stressed Egypt’s keenness for a political solution in Yemen. The Egyptian president also spoke on the importance of the upcoming Egyptian parliament, saying that it will play a crucial role in uniting all the state’s institutions “to protect the Egyptian state.” [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 4/17/2015]

Egypt’s top auditor says state institutions hindering information law
Several state bodies don’t want Egypt’s government to issue a Freedom of Information law which stipulates citizens’ right to access information regarding corruption, head of the Central Auditing Agency (CAA) Hesham Geneina said on Thursday. Article 217 in the Egyptian constitution mandates that regulatory authorities publicly publish reports after being presented to the president, cabinet and parliament. A bill for the law has been discussed several times over the past three years. Geneina stressed that Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded the cooperation of all state and private bodies with the regulatory authorities in order to avoid any crises between them. However, he said that willingness for cooperation is lacking from all institutions. [Ahram Online, 4/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Parliament’s independent seats to increase to 444 instead of 420 says Minister | SIS
  • Five controversies around the new electoral laws | Mada Masr
  • Does Sisi want a parliament? | Mada Masr
  • Prime Minister appoints new head for ‘Long Live Egypt’ fund | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Prime Minister dedicates state-owned land for public projects in Upper Egypt | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Parliamentary Affairs Minister says final election law drafts to be sent to State Council next week | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Human rights advocates say Sinai Liberation presidential pardons won’t include Protest Law detainees | Shorouk (Arabic)


Stadium official to be arrested over bomb attack on Egyptian military cadets
Prosecutors have ordered the arrest of the head of camera surveillance at Kafr al-Sheikh stadium on Thursday following a bomb attack that killed two military cadets and injured six others on Wednesday. The official will be detained for four days pending investigations after the prosecution found security cameras at the stadium had been disabled 24 hours before the attack. Head of Kafr al-Sheikh prosecution, Ahmed Ashour, ordered all tapes from the remaining functional cameras to be reviewed for criminal evidence.  The prosecution is also waiting for forensic reports into the cause of the explosion. Prosecution sources told Al-Ahram that the case is expected to be referred to the military prosecution. Meanwhile, security forces arrested nine alleged Brotherhood members from different towns and villages across Kafr al-Sheikh, who are suspected of carrying out the attack. [Ahram Online, 4/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Administrative court considers lawsuit dismissing Alexandria governor over US citizenship | Shorouk (Arabic)


Egypt joins China-based infrastructure bank, hopes for funds  
Egypt has been approved as a founding member of the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), opening the way for it to benefit from the bank’s $50 billion in funds, the foreign ministry said. Britain, Germany, France and Italy are also among the fifty-seven founders of the bank, despite skepticism about it in Washington and Tokyo. The Egyptian foreign ministry said its access to the bank will provide it with funding opportunities to finance development and infrastructure projects. The new multinational lender is seen as a rival to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. [AFP, SIS, 4/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Orascom Construction CEO bullish on Egypt, wants more reforms | Ahram Online
  • Egypt says not importing sugar for subsidy program | Reuters
  • Egypt supports sugar producers, may slap big tariff on imports | Reuters
  • Minister says agreement to be signed with World Bank Friday | MENA, SIS
  • International Cooperation Minister to participate in WB, IMF spring meetings | SIS
  • Electricity company, consultancy firm sign contract on Suez transformers station | SIS


Hellenistic-era ruins demolished in Alexandria
The Antiquities Ministry’s decision to demolish a Hellenistic-era archaeological site in Alexandria was carried out on Thursday, destroying the ancient ruins and leveling the area into a flat lot. The site of al-Abd Theater in Camp Shizar, which was discovered in 2013, dates back to the Roman and Hellenistic eras 323 BC and lies in a residential neighborhood just a block inland from the Mediterranean coast. The Facebook group Egypt’s Heritage Task Force, who campaigned unsuccessfully to save the site, claimed the Antiquities Ministry was ceding the land over to a contractor to build on the lot. Alexandria Antiquities Director Mostafa Roshdy said the site was demolished after residents complained it threatened the architectural stability of the adjacent buildings. “The technical report said the depth of the excavations threaten the surrounding buildings and recommended to close the site,” he said. [Egypt Independent, 4/16/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt starts constructing new phase on metro line | Ahram Online
  • Ibrahim al-Yamany: A year on hunger strike | DNE
  • Sister says imprisoned US-Egyptian just an “idealistic guy” | Reuters
  • Wife of officer killed in Sinai wants leaders held accountable | Egypt Independent
  • Azhar Grand Imam says Jihad not confined to fighting | SIS
  • Minister says tests on drivers addiction ongoing  | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt strikes Islamic texts from schools, angering Salafists | Al-Monitor
  • Brotherhood stages four protests in Kafr al-Sheikh | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • 42-year-old cafe hall frequented by Naguib Mahfouz demolished | Egypt Independent


Military kills thirteen suspected militants in Sinai
Armed forces targeted “terrorist elements” and killed three alleged militants in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid on Thursday, the military spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that soldiers were also able to destroy the suspected militants’ car in a chase. The chase took place after a bomb explosion in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid killed one security personnel and injured others more Thursday morning, state-owned media had reported. On Friday, security sources said that another ten militants were killed and eleven arrested in a military operation in Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arish. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, EGYNews, 4/17/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Sisi meets officials to assess security conditions | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Alleged killer of Luxor expat arrested | Ahram Online
  • Six alleged Brotherhood members arrested in Beheira | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • 237 middle-ranking Brotherhood members arrested | Shorouk (Arabic)


Congressional human rights commission to hold hearing on Egypt
In a letter sent to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Wednesday, Representative Keith Ellison requested a hearing on human rights violations in Egypt. In the letter, Ellison writes, “While there are many areas of the world that require the attention of the Lantos Commission, reports of alarming abuses indicate that few are as urgent and crucial as the case of Egypt.” Ellison points to human rights abuses in Egypt both before and after the overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi, including extrajudicial killings, unlawful detentions of protesters and journalist, and a lack of freedom of press. He also points to an increase, in the wake of Morsi’s ouster, of police violence, religious oppression, and the denial of fair public trials. “A hearing on Egypt’s human rights abuses is timely and relevant to inform US policy making,” Ellison adds. Ellison later tweeted, “The US lifted weapons freeze, but human rights violations in Egypt keep getting worse. In response, the Human Rights Commission tweeted that a hearing will be held in July. Meanwhile, the US State Department has announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will present the 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which covers the status of human rights concerns on April 20, 2015. [POMED, 4/16/2015]

Qatar will never relinquish support for Egypt says Qatari Foreign Minister
Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Mohamed al-Attiyah has vowed that the Gulf state will never “relinquish its duties towards Egypt” in an interview with London-based daily al-Sharq al-Awsat. “Relations between Qatar and Egypt have not changed; Egypt is an important country in the Arab world, and we have always believed that Egypt should be strong,” Attiyah said. During the interview, Attiyah stressed that any harm that affects Egypt would affect the whole Arab region, and for that reason “Qatar has not never abandoned its duties towards Egypt, not since the January 25 Revolution and not even after Egypt’s [President Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi took office in July 2014.” [Ahram Online, 4/17/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt halts judicial cooperation with Turkey says Minister | SIS
  • Ministry: Egypt’s mission in Saudi Arabia preserves rights of Egyptians |SIS
  • Yeminis stranded in Egypt long to return home as conflict rages | Ahram Online
  • Iranian official: Egypt confronting the Yemeni people unacceptable | Egypt Independent
  • Remarks by Iranian assistant FM on Egypt, Yemen unacceptable says Official | SIS
  • Egypt, Sudan to open Qastal port April 30| Egypt Independent
  • Egypt, Sudan, Chad to develop sandstone water reservoir | SIS
  • Sudan’s foreign ministry says Egyptian fishermen’s problem to be resolved soon | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Egypt eyes more tourism cooperation with Hungary | SIS