Top News: Molotov Cocktail Attack Kills 16 at Cairo Nightclub

A firebomb attack on a small nightclub in Cairo early Friday killed 16 people and wounded three others, authorities said. Police were looking for two young men who carried out the attack because they were previously not allowed to enter, state news agency MENA reported. A statement posted on the Interior Ministry’s Facebook page said a preliminary investigation showed the attack happened after a dispute between the staff and some other people, who then threw Molotov cocktails at the entrance. Security officials earlier said the attacker was an employee who had been fired from the restaurant in the Agouza area in the centre of the Egyptian capital. Victims of the blast were burned to death or died from smoke inhalation in the establishment. El Sayad restaurant, which is also an unofficial nightclub, was located in a basement, offering no escape route, the officials said. Online video posted by newspaper Youm7 showed thick black smoke pouring through the doorway of El Sayad as onlookers milled outside unable to help. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, The Guardian, 12/4/2015]


Early results show independents seize unprecedented power in new parliament
As the second and final phase of the parliamentary elections comes to an end, early results show that independent candidates will hold a critical bloc — a marked shift from Egypt’s long-standing tradition of majority parties ruling the parliament. Unofficial tallies issued by candidates and media outlets suggest that independent candidates won 317 out of 596 seats, seizing more than 50 percent of parliament. Coptic candidates gained 36 seats, 12 as independents and 24 on the four electoral lists. Media personalities and journalists won 11 seats, and women won 73 seats, equal to 12 percent of seats in parliament, including 17 independents and 56 on the winning lists. About 50 former police and army major generals also won seats. Meanwhile, the  little known anti-Shiite coalition, Kheir al-Ummah, called on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to choose one of its members among the 28 appointed members of parliament to “reveal Iran’s agents and the Shiite lobby.” [Mada Masr, 12/4/2015[

Also of Interest

  • Free Egyptians Party leader outlines what’s next | Al Monitor
  • Education Ministry cracks down on private tutoring | Cairo Post


Autopsy confirms Luxor man tortured to death, four officers detained
Egypt’s prosecution detained four Luxor officers Thursday four days pending investigation on charges of torturing a detainee, Talaat Shabib, to death. The Luxor prosecutor also summoned five low-ranking officers for questioning in the case. The decision came shortly after an autopsy report was released showing that a severe beating to Shabib’s neck and back broke his vertebrae and ultimately cut his spinal cord, causing his death. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 12/4/2015]

Detained journalist Ismail Alexandrani’s interrogation postponed, lawyers denied access
The Supreme State Security prosecution postponed Thursday the interrogation of journalist and researcher Ismail Alexandrani to Monday December 7, due to difficulties in transporting Alexandrani from his place of detention, defense lawyer Mohamed Baker alleged in a statement on his Facebook page.Alexandrani’s defense lawyers, including rights advocate Khaled Ali, were also barred from entering the prosecution’s premises, where they believed Alexandrani was to be interrogated. Security forces argued an x-ray machine had not yet been installed in the building to allow them safe entry, lawyer Ahmed Abdel Naby said in a Facebook statement. The lawyers filed a complaint of misconduct and mistreatment with the State Security Prosecution. Alexandrani was detained fifteen days pending investigation earlier this week on multiple charges, including spreading false news. [Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, 12/3/2015]

Also of Interest

  • A Letter From Shawkan, Tora Prison | Mada Masr
  • Hassan Malik’s imprisonment renewed | DNE


Egypt’s foreign reserves rise slightly in November
Egypt’s foreign currency reserves rose to $16.422 billion dollars at the end of November from $16.415 billion the previous month, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). The statistics were released a day after new CBE Governor Tarek Amer met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and told him that foreign reserves were stable and would improve. Bankers had been watching for a dip in reserves after the CBE pumped additional dollar liquidity into the banking sector in recent weeks to ease a foreign exchange crisis. Meanwhile, Sisi met with a group of Egyptian businessmen on Thursday and emphasized the importance of the private sector in Egypt’s economy. Sisi underlined efforts being taken by the government to encourage investment in the country. He also asked the businessmen to form a contact group of Egyptian business leaders and investors that would communicate directly with the presidency. [Reuters, Ahram Online, SIS, 12/3/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Banks ordered to prioritize providing foreign exchange for vital exports | DNE
  • Youth lead independent campaigns encouraging locals, foreigners to explore Egypt | Ahram Online


Police officer, soldier injured in Arish IED blast
A police officer and a soldier were injured after an IED explosion hit their armored vehicle on the Arish-Qantara Sharq Road on Thursday. Security sources and eyewitnesses said unidentified men planted an IED on the international road, west of Arish. Both injured individuals were struck by shrapnel from the explosion, causing injuries. They were transferred to the military hospital of Arish, and the authorities are investigating the situation.. [AMAY, 12/4/2015]


Heads of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece to meet in Athens next week
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will visit Greece next week and attend a summit meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian state media said Thursday. The tripartite summit in Athens will discuss regional developments, terrorism, crises in the Middle East and the Cyprus dispute with Turkey, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Greek embassy in Cairo. The three leaders will also discuss cooperation between the three countries in international organizations like the UN and EU. The meeting will also involve discussions on tripartite cooperation in specific fields like transportation, tourism, and energy, according to the statement. This is the third meeting between the three countries this year, with the two prior meetings taking place in Egypt and Cyprus. [Ahram Online, MENA, 12/4/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Prime Minister in Johannesburg to take part in China-Africa Forum | SIS