Top News: Over Thirty Killed in Sinai; Egyptians Evacuated from Yemen

Fiffteen security personnel and two civilians were killed in attacks on five security checkpoints in North Sinai early Thursday, medical sources said. Security personnel were quick to respond to the attacks, killing fifteen suspected militants, a security source said.


Sisi vows to ‘go after’ non-conforming Muslim Brotherhood
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed Tuesday to “go after” those who do not “conform to the homeland and are afraid for its country,” in a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. Adding that “the past two years witnessed chaos because of people who did not stand with dignity, honesty, and understanding for their country’s issue, including religious rhetoric, leading to implanting evil people inside and outside the country within the political adaptations framework.” Abdullah al-Haddad from the Muslim Brotherhood press office in London replied to what Sisi said, saying “I believe that the one who plants evil is the mass killing murderer who imprisons, tortures, and manslaughters every single political dissent in our beloved country.” [DNE, 4/1/2015]

Cabinet approves legislation maximizing penalty for digging border tunnels
Egypt’s cabinet approved on Wednesday draft legislation proposed by the president punishing those who dig or use border tunnels for communication with foreign countries with life in prison. The draft law amends article 82 in the penal code, adding that the life-in-prison penalty would punish whoever “digs, prepares or uses a road, a passage or an underground tunnel at border areas to communicate with a foreign body, a state or one of its subjects” or to help persons, goods, equipment or machines in and out of the country. The same penalty applies to those who are aware of the use (or planned use) of underground tunnels for the aforementioned purposes without informing the concerned authorities. The legislation also allows the government to seize any buildings beneath which tunnels are dug or tools used to dig them. [Aswat Masriya, 4/2/2015]

Also of Interest

  • State never wanted political parties’ involvement says Mohamed Abul-Ghar | DNE
  • Sisi orders global marketing campaign for Suez Canal projects | SIS
  • Prime Minister says government keen on holding parliamentary election as soon as possible | EGYNews (Arabic)


230 Egyptians referred to military prosecutor over 2013 violence
Prosecutors in Beni Suef referred on Wednesday 230 Egyptians to the military prosecutor for violence-related charges in the aftermath of nationwide pro-Morsi sit-ins, which were broken up by security forces in August 2013. The defendants face charges of killing a police officer, attempted murder, torching and sabotaging public properties, storming Beni Suef governorate headquarters, and joining a banned group, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. [Ahram Online, 4/1/2015]

Campaign launched to defend witnesses-turned-defendants in Sabbagh murder case
Egyptian activists are drumming up support for a rights advocate and members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) who were witnesses in the Shaimaa al-Sabbagh murder case, but were recently listed as defendants for protesting the day she was killed. A wide online support campaign titled “Do not Prosecute Hope” circulated online on Wednesday to raise awareness for the group whose first trial session is expected on April 4. Thirteen members of the SPAP, including its secretary-general and leading members of the party – all of whom were witnesses in the case – are now on trial for violating the 2013 protest law, which outlaws unauthorized demonstrations. Four other people, including prominent lawyer Azza Soliman, are also witnesses-turned-defendants. [Ahram Online, 4/1/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Appeal against Mubarak verdict postponed to May 7 | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Court adjourns Ziada trial amid presence of Press Syndicate members | DNE
  • Al Jazeera journalist says Canada not issuing him passport | AP
  • Fugitive owner of al-Salam 98 removed from watch list | Egypt Independent


Arabtec, Egypt agree on terms for first phase of housing project
Arabtec has agreed to terms with Egypt’s Ministry of Housing for the first phase of an almost $40 billion plan to construct one million homes across the country. The first phase of the project will consist of 100,000 units to be built in Egypt’s Obour and Badr districts. Arabtec did not say how many phases will be part of the project or when it might conclude terms with Egypt on building the remaining 900,000 units. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 4/2/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt payments to energy firms $9.4 billion as of end-March | Reuters
  • Egypt’s new city: More questions than answers | DNE
  • Gas import terminal arrives in Egypt says government official | Reuters
  • External debt decreases by 10.3 percent in December: CBE | DNE
  • Cabinet approves loan deal, discusses different issues | SIS
  • Gas shortage halts operations in fertilizer, iron plants  | Egypt Independent
  • Supply minister discusses jewelry manufacturing in Egypt  | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt considers 12-22 percent custom cuts on imported yarn | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s benchmark index rises by 2.33 percent in first quarter of 2015 | Aswat Masriya
  • Cairo, Sharm al-Sheikh most likely to grow in MENA tourist destinations: Colliers International | DNE
  • Foreign Minister says request to join AIIB aims at attracting more investments in infrastructure | SIS


Egypt’s foreign ministry says new restrictions on tourist visas delayed
The ministry of foreign affairs announced on Thursday a delay to new restrictions requiring individuals to pre-obtain visas at embassies instead of on arrival at Egyptian airports. The restrictions will be delayed until a new e-visa system has been set up. The decision comes after the relevant state agencies met with tourist agencies to discuss the issue. [EGYNews (Arabic), 4/2/2015]

Also of Interest
NGO voices concern over fresh prison torture revelations | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s Al-Azhar files complaint accusing TV show of twisting Islam  | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Al-Azhar textbook says eating dead Jews, Christians and infidels ‘halal’ if necessary  | Egypt Independent
Air pollution the most deadly environmental issue | DNE
Judges Club election to be held May 29 | Egypt Independent
Antiquities Minister works on returning all smuggled artifacts | Egypt Independent
Electricity company: Power cuts in Upper Egypt for a week | Egypt Independent
Arab League head sparks anger among Christians | DNE, Egypt Independent


Over thirty killed in North Sinai attacks
Fifteen security personnel and two civilians were killed in attacks on five security checkpoints in North Sinai early Thursday, medical sources said. Armed assailants attacked the checkpoints on the al-Arish/Rafah road with heavy guns, a security source said. The attack also left seventeen security personnel and thirteen civilians injured, the medical sources added. They were transferred to the General al-Arish Hospital for treatment. Security personnel were quick to respond to the attacks, killing fifteen suspected militants, the security source said. Military operations are ongoing in Rafah, North Sinai in response to the deadly ambushes on Thursday morning, army spokesperson Mohamed Samir told Ahram Online. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, Reuters, AP, 4/2/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Official says Bab al-Mandab incidents have no effect on Suez Canal | Egypt Independent
  • Three accidentally killed while manufacturing bomb in Sharqiya | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Forty-six alleged Brotherhood members arrested on violence charges | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Two bombs detonated, two dismantled in Beheira, leaving no injuries | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Woman dies, three family members injured by bomb in North Sinai | Egypt Independent


Egypt begins evacuation of citizens in Yemen
As the battle in war-torn Yemen escalates thousands of Egyptian expatriates have found themselves stranded with no safe exit back home. On Wednesday afternoon the Egyptian foreign ministry announced that three groups of Egyptian expats managed to leave Yemen via the Red Sea, the Saudi border, and the Omani border. The announcement came after pleas by Egyptians in Yemen to the Egyptian government to evacuate them. Saudi Arabia is to open on Thursday three border crossings to Saudi Arabia to ensure a safe exit for Egyptian expats. The foreign ministry also held an emergency meeting on Thursday to follow up on the condition of Egyptians in Yemen. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday during a recorded speech that the Houthi rebels should “back out” of the ongoing war with the Yemeni state in order to “preserve the unity of their country.” [Ahram Online, 4/2/2015]

Also of Interest

  • South African president in Egypt to meet Sisi | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Turkey condemns Arab League’s accusations of provoking regional tensions | Egypt Independent
  • US military aid released to Egypt boosts leader’s legitimacy | AP
  • More consultation was needed before announcing joint Arab force says Iraqi Foreign minister | Ahram Online
  • Egypt, Ethiopia irrigation ministers to announce Renaissance Dam consultancy firm next week  | Ahram Online
  • Minister says 1 million Indian tourists initiative unsuccessful due to insufficient flights | Egypt Independent
  • More than 300 Egyptian artifacts dating over 3,500 years found in Israel | Mada Masr