Top News: Muslim Brotherhood Member Shot Dead in Egypt

Egyptian security forces shot dead a Muslim Brotherhood member in southern Egypt, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday. Mujahed Hassan Zaki, a middle-ranking Brotherhood member, was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces during a raid on his hideout in Beni Suef, the ministry said. The ministry added that the slain Brotherhood member was a “special operations” commander for what it described as an armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The statement said he was wanted on charges of violence and sabotage in Beni Suef. A Brotherhood source denied the ministry’s claim, saying that Zaki had been “liquidated” by security forces. The source claimed that Zaki had been arrested without resistance three days ago in an apartment in the eastern Cairo suburb of Ain Shams. [Anadolu Agency, 9/11/2015]


Agriculture corruption case does not involve other ministers according to cabinet
The recent Agriculture Ministry corruption case under investigations does not include other officials from the cabinet with the exception of Salah Helal, who resigned from his position as minister and was arrested on September 7, the cabinet said in a press statement Thursday. According to the Administrative Prosecution in charge of investigations, charges include several financial bribes. Four defendants were announced in the case: the former Agriculture minister, his deputy, a businessman, and a mediator. Due to a media gag enforced in the case since the arrest of the Deputy Minister, journalists have not been able to extract further information, which has led to unconfirmed news reports circulating about possible involvement of other ministers and public figures in the case. [DNE, Cairo Post, 9/10/2015]

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Egypt’s economy needs investment to boost reserves and growth
Experts say Egypt needs to boost investment and bring in foreign capital to avoid a looming cash crunch. Billions of dollars in debt repayments are due, foreign currency reserves fell to a six month low in August, and Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said this week that foreign direct investment is not growing as fast as hoped. Experts say if the government does not act quickly, the investment needed to realize its ambitious plans may not materialize in time. Experts recommend letting the currency devalue against the dollar to make exports more competitive, shore up foreign reserves, and alleviate investor uncertainty. Implementing a planned value-added tax this month would help bring the budget into line, as would a fresh bond issue similar to the one last June that raised $1.5 billion. [AP, 9/11/2015]

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Hundreds of teachers and students stage protests in Egypt, criticize the Ministry of Education
Hundreds of teachers staged a protest in front of the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo on Thursday to demand an increase of wages and the dismissal of Minister of Education Moheb al-Refai. The protesters demanded that Refai be removed from his position due to his “failure” at running the ministry. Additionally, students also protested the Ministry of Education in Alexandria, but left after one hour when they were contacted by National Security asking them to end their protest for “their safety.” [Ahram Online, 9/10/2015]

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Egypt investigates theft of gold from Ministry of Finance’s coinage department, makes arrests
Fourteen bars of gold and eight kilograms of other gold were stolen from the Egyptian Ministry of Finance’s coinage department, an Interior Ministry spokesman announced Thursday. The fifty-three year-old custodian of Egypt’s gold reserves, Ramadan Bakry, discovered the robbery on Thursday night and immediately notified the Interior Ministry. The prosecution ordered his arrest for a four-day period pending investigation, accusing him of embezzlement and negligence. The Ministry of Interior released a statement Friday saying police arrested an official at the ministry and another man reported to be behind the theft. The statement said the perpetrators were arrested in possession of the gold. Interior ministry investigations revealed that the theft took place on September 7 and was carried out by a plumber who had conspired with a coinage department official. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, 9/10/2015]

Conflicting reports on car bomb casualties in Egypt’s North Sinai
Armed Forces Spokesperson Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said Friday in a statement that a suicide car bomb attack in northern Sinai killed two civilians–a woman and a child. He added that several other Rafah citizens were wounded in the explosion. According to a report from AP, however, an unnamed security official said the explosion killed a sixty-one year old man and his two children inside their home. The children were seven and three years old. The officials say the explosion took place Friday in the town of Rafah, on the border with the Gaza Strip. The officials say the suicide bomber was targeting an approaching military convoy. One soldier and four civilians were wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. [AP, 9/11/2015]

Egypt arrests alleged migrant smuggler
Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA says authorities arrested a man accused of attempting to smuggle 109 people across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The news agency said Thursday that authorities had been searching for the man since they intercepted a fishing boat with seventy-eight people of different nationalities, along with its crew members. It did not say when the interception took place. MENA says the man had also previously attempted to smuggle twenty-seven Sudanese and four Egyptians, who were found while boarding a boat heading to Europe in July. The man has confessed to the accusations. [AP, 9/10/2015]


Egypt to give Palestinian cause top priority, welcomes UN resolution raising Palestinian Flag
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday said, during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, that Egypt and the other Arab countries see the Palestinian cause as a top priority. During the meet, Abbas and Sisi discussed how Egypt will continue to support the Palestinian issue in order to reach a just and comprehensive settlement, ensuring the establishment of a Palestinian state. Egypt also hailed a UN resolution that passed on Friday, allowing for the raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations headquarters in New York. These events coincide with Islamist activists in Egypt criticizing Sisi for allowing the Israeli embassy to reopen in Cairo after four years. [SIS, 9/11/2015]

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