Top News: Italian Defense Minister Pledges Support for Egypt’s Fight Against Terrorism

The Italian Defense Minister told visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab on Friday that her country would support Cairo in its battle with terrorism. ” We have ties with the Egyptian armed forces, and we are ready to offer our expertise in the area of fighting terrorists,” Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti was quoted as saying by Egypt’s official news agency MENA. “Egypt is our partner and ally.” Pinotti also told Mahlab, who is currently on a three-day visit to Italy, that Rome values Cairo’s efforts to combat terrorism and other cultural attempts to prove that Islam is “not a religion of extremism and terrorism.” The Italian minister said a deadly bombing that hit the Italian consulate in central Cairo earlier this month did not only aim to target Italy but “friendly ties between the Egyptian and Italian people.” Mahlab arrived in Rome Thursday, arriving from Milan as part of a three-day official visit to Italy. [Ahram OnlineDNE, 7/24/2015]


Ex-presidential candidate says no president has represented the poor since Nasser
Egypt has not seen a president who would take the side of the poor and social justice since late President Gamal Abdel Nasser and the 1952 revolution, former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said in a press conference, hosted by the Karama Party on Thursday evening, on the sixty-third anniversary of the 23 July 1952 revolution. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the fourth president in the Second Republic after Sadat, Mubarak and Morsi, said Sabbahi, adding that his policies will hopefully become more considerate with the poor people, for whom the January revolution took place. “Declining to appoint law school graduates for posts at the public prosecution and the judiciary, except through nepotism, shows that the regime’s policy against the revolutions of January 25 and June 30 continues,” Sabbahi said. [Egypt Independent, 7/24/2015]

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Egypt fund in talks with World Bank over $25.5 million
Egypt’s Social Fund for Development (SFD) is negotiating with the World Bank Group for a fund worth $25.5 million (EGP 200 million) to finance micro enterprises.  SFD Head of Micro Enterprises Sector Nevine Badreldin said that SFD used EGP 670 million during the first half of 2015 to finance micro-sized projects. SFD seeks to raise EGP 1.2 billion pounds worth of total finances for the micro enterprises sector by the end of 2015, Badreldin added. [Amwal Al Ghad, 7/23/2015]

Egypt to sign four agreements with Italy
During his visit to Italy for the Expo Milano 2015, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab announced that Egypt will sign four agreements with Italy in the electricity, oil and petroleum, and industrial sectors. The commercial exchange between Egypt and Italy is expected to witness “remarkable growth” in the coming few years, Basil Rahmy, a member of the Italian-Egyptian Business (IEB) Council, said. He said the agreements help to boost Italian confidence in Egypt’s investment climate. The head of the council’s Italian side, Marcello Sala, said that it seeks to establish a number of projects in Egypt, including the construction of a new integrated railway network and a waterway between Egypt and Italy. Meanwhile, Italian export credit agency SACE is currently assessing projects worth EUR 4.9 billion euros for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large businesses in Egypt. [Cairo Post, 7/24/2015]

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  • Egypt targets economic growth of nearly 5 percent in first quarter | Al Bawaba
  • Worries on VAT in Egypt (analysis) | Ahram Weekly

Death toll in Nile boat collision rises to thirty-one: Egyptian health ministry
The death toll from a boat collision on Egypt’s Nile river Wednesday has risen to up to thirty-one, a Ministry of Health Spokesperson told Reuters on Friday. A security source, however, told Aswat Masriya that the death toll had reached thirty-seven. Wednesday’s accident occurred when “a barge collided” with the ferryboat in Giza, “shattering” the latter, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its official Facebook page. Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told The Associated Press that search efforts were still ongoing late Wednesday. The victims’ bodies resurfaced three days after the accident, a medical source at the ambulance authority said. The majority of the bodies belonged to children aged four to fourteen, Water Surface Authority Director Wael al-Sharkawy said. [Reuters, AP, 7/24/2015]

Four military personnel killed in Sinai explosion; Sinai State claims responsibility
A military officer and three soldiers were killed Thursday morning in an explosion which targeted a military vehicle, Armed Forces Spokesperson Mohamed Samir said. The men were killed when a roadside bomb targeted the military vehicle in North Sinai’s Rafah, as forces were combing the borderline between the two Rafah districts of al-Mahdiya and al-Masora.  Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate, the Sinai State, previously known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the attack. [SIS, Cairo Post, Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 7/24/2015]   

Croatian citizen kidnapped in Egypt by armed men
A group of armed men abducted a Croatian citizen in Egypt on Wednesday, Croatia’s foreign ministry reported on Friday. It said the man, identified only as thirty-one-year-old T.S., was stopped in the Cairo area on Wednesday morning while travelling to work for a French company. It did not disclose the name of the company, but news portal reported that the company was CGG (General Geoscience), which specializes in oil and gas geology. “His car was stopped by an armed group who forced the driver to leave the car and then took off in an unknown direction,” the ministry said on its website. It said it was in contact with the Croatian embassy in Cairo, the French company, and the man’s family. [Reuters, 7/24/2015]

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  • Security forces arrest nineteen mid-level Brotherhood members | EGYNews

Egyptian fishermen re-arrested in Sudan after release
A day after their release, a total of 101 Egyptian fishermen were rearrested by Sudanese authorities, according to Chairman of Independent Fishermen Syndicate in Matariya, Taha al-Rasheedy. The Sudanese Prosecution ordered Thursday the release of the Egyptian fishermen detained in April for allegedly trespassing in Sudanese waters and spying. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Thursday evening that the officials in contact with the Sudanese government had finished legal procedures to secure the return of the fishermen, but Sudanese authorities refused to allow the men to exit the country Friday morning, Rasheedy added. According to Rasheedy, they have been sent back to Port Sudan to stand trial. In related news, seventeen Egyptian fishermen were arrested in Libya’s Benghazi, according to Ahmed Nassar, head of the Egyptian Fishermen’s Syndicate branch in Delta’s Kafr al-Sheikh. The fishermen’s boat embarked from Egyptian inlet of Rashid, heading to Malta nine days ago, Nassar said; however, the boat was seized and forcedly escorted to Libya’s Benghazi port, he added. [Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, 7/24/2015]

Egypt and Saudi Arabia committed to Yemen stability, say Foreign Ministers
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Thursday Cairo and Riyadh are committed to stabilizing the situation in Yemen and consolidating its independence. Shoukry, at a press conference in Riyadh with his Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubair, said that talks are ongoing regarding the roles of members in the Saudi-led Arab coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen, adding that this is “normal.” Al-Ahram had reported Wednesday that the meeting came in the light of “rumors” of disagreements between Saudi Arabia and its historical ally Egypt over certain key regional issues. Shoukry and Al-Jubair also spoke of “terrorism threats” in the region, highlighting coordinated “political, security and intelligence” efforts against extremist militants that have recently gained a foothold in the region. Al-Jubair said Saudi-Egyptian cooperation in combating terrorism is to the benefit of their peoples. The talks on Thursday, attended by other top government officials from both countries, addressed the conflicts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Badr Abdel Atty, said in a statement. [Ahram Online, SIS, 7/23/2015]