Top News: ISIS Publishes Photos of Coptic Egyptians Kidnapped in Libya

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) published a report apparently showing photos of twenty-one Coptic Egyptians recently kidnapped by militants in Libya, claiming they captured the migrant workers to “avenge the kidnapping of Muslim women by the Egyptian Coptic Church.” 


Major electoral alliances near merger ahead of March parliament polls
The liberal Wafd party are in talks with For the Love of Egypt alliance over a merger ahead of the parliamentary elections slated for March 22. Wafd leads an alliance composed of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party along with other lower-profile parties, while For the Love of Egypt is an electoral group led by retired army general and security expert Sameh Seif al-Yazal. Wafd sent the names of sixty of its nominees who could join FLE’s electoral list. A chairman of the Conservative Party, a member of the FLE list, noted that efforts to unite the electoral fronts came in response to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urging political parties to avoid splits ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, two Wafd members in Matrouh resigned after learning of the merger, and because of what they described as an unsatisfactory electoral list that included former NDP figures. [Egypt Independent, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Parliamentary elections: ‘Nothing is sure until it is done’ | Ahram Online
  • 587 polling stations in twelve Minya constituencies ready for March elections | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Fourteen applicants for parliamentary elections candidacy drug abusers | Egypt Independent
  • Nedaa Masr Coalition accuses Nour Party of cooperating with Ahmed Ezz | Egypt Independent
  • Ahmed Ezz electoral constituency residents burn his charity blankets | Egypt Independent


Morsi espionage trial starts Sunday
The espionage trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and ten others will begin on Sunday. The suspects are accused of allegedly leaking classified documents linked to national security and the Armed Forces to Qatari intelligence and Qatari news network Al Jazeera, in exchange for $1 million dollars. Of the ten suspects, only seven are in custody.[EGYNews (Arabic), 2/13/2015]

Al Jazeera journalists walk out of Egyptian prison
Two Al Jazeera journalists have been released on bail and reunited with their families after nearly 14 months in an Egyptian prison. On Thursday a court in Cairo ordered the release of Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, who are facing retrial on charges of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood. Photos on Facebook and video aired by al-Jazeera showed Mohamed, wearing clothes with the tag “Free Press,” hugging and playing with his children, one of whom was born during his detention. Fahmy tweeted a photo with his fiancée Marwa Omara. Meanwhile, Canada welcomed Fahmy’s release, but decried as “unacceptable” putting him through a retrial. [Ahram Online, AP, The Guardian, 2/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Eight Brotherhood supporters arrested in Alexandria | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Five members of ‘terrorist cell’ arrested in Qena | EGYNews (Arabic)


French investments in Egypt total 3 billion euros in 2014
French investments in Egypt have totaled 3 billion euros (US$3.4 billion) during 2014, French ambassador in Cairo André Parant announced. Taking part in the opening ceremony of the French Cosmetics giant L’Oreal’s factory in the 10th of Ramadan city in Egypt, Parant noted that the number of French companies working in Egypt exceeds fourteen specialized in various fields, notably banking, tourism, cosmetics, and building materials. Parant also emphasized that French companies are keen to participate in Egypt’s Economic Summit in Sharm al-Sheikh next March. [Amwal al-Ghad, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • 180 companies to invest in renewable energy | Egypt Independent
  • Swiss companies, banks show interest in Egypt’s economic conference | SIS
  • Russian delegation participates in Sharm al-Sheikh summit | SIS
  • Finance Ministry denies government’s borrowing EGP19 billion per day | SIS


Egypt among worst countries for media freedom amid ‘drastic’ global downturn: Watchdog
Egypt has one of the worst levels of press freedom worldwide according to watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which ranked the country 158th out of 180 surveyed in its annual World Press Freedom Index. Egypt came above seven other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, in the index. Earlier this month, the group said fifteen journalists were detained in Egypt after the release of Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Victims of Cairo football violence died from suffocation: Forensic authority | Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr
  • Death of Zamalek fans in riot stirs political conspiracies in Egypt | The Guardian
  • Egyptian Premier League to be back behind closed doors in two weeks: PM | Ahram Online


Police captain killed, eight injured in Cairo bomb blast; Eight militants killed in Sinai raid
A roadside bomb in Cairo killed Police Captain Mostafa Shamis and wounded eight other people on Friday, the interior ministry said. A homemade bomb targeting a security petrol exploded in the area between the Gesir al-Suez and Aim Shams neighborhoods on Friday morning, injuring Shamis, seven police recruits and one civilian bystander. According to AP, the militant group Ajnad Misr said on its Twitter account that its members targeted the security force as they were heading to the nearby Alf Maskan district – a flashpoint for near-weekly clashes between security forces and Islamist demonstrators. Subsequent protests in the district were forcibly dispersed by police. Later, Egyptian warplanes killed eight suspected Islamist militants in Sinai, according to security. It was not clear if the airstrikes were in retaliation for the blast. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, AP, 2/13/2015]


ISIS publishes photos of Coptic Egyptians kidnapped in Libya
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) published a report apparently showing photos of twenty-one Coptic Egyptians recently kidnapped by militants in Libya, claiming they captured the migrant workers to “avenge the kidnapping of Muslim women by the Egyptian Coptic Church.” ISIS published the report in the current issue of its online English publication Dabiq, calling the captives “Coptic crusaders.” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry is investigating the authenticity of the pictures, while a committee tasked with securing  the return of the kidnapped nationals is “following the matter minute-by-minute, making extensive and ongoing contacts with official and non-official concerned Libyan parties in order to clarify the situation and learn the truth,” read a statement by the office of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday. Meanwhile, families of the kidnapped Egyptians demonstrated outside the journalists’ syndicate in downtown Cairo on Friday demanding their release. The families called upon Sisi to take swift measures to verify news of their relatives’ death, and repatriate their bodies if their death is confirmed. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 2/13/2015]

France’s Hollande says Egypt to buy Rafale fighters, frigate
French President Francois Hollande said Egypt would order twenty-four Rafale fighter jets, a naval frigate and related military equipment in a deal to be signed in Cairo on Monday worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion). The contract would make Egypt, aiming to upgrade its military hardware amid fears the crisis in neighboring Libya could spill over, the first export customer for the warplane, built by Dassault Aviation. France’s defense minister plans to travel to Cairo on Monday to sign a deal with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the sale, a defense ministry source said on Thursday. [Reuters, AP, 2/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Turkish officials reportedly deny Brotherhood channels are broadcast from Turkey | Ahram Online
  • Cairo to host Arab-UN peace talks | SIS