Security forces backed by armored vehicles and helicopters on Monday stormed a town south of Cairo, Delga, that had been held for over two months by militants loyal to the ousted Islamist president, swiftly taking control despite some resistance from gunmen.

Political forces react to state of emergency extension
Representatives from a number of political parties pledged their full support for interim President Adly Mansour’s decision to extend Egypt’s state of emergency by two months, presidential spokesman Ihab Badawy said in a press conference Sunday. However, attendees also brought up concerns about abusive use of the state of emergency, calling on Mansour to investigate and ensure that violations do not recur. Parties reportedly in attendance at the meeting include the Salafist Nour Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Tagammu Party, the Free Egyptians Party, Tamarod, the Constitution Party, the Democratic Front Party, the Free Egyptians Party, and the Conference Party, amongst others. A coalition of political forces, however, including the Strong Egypt Party, April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, the ‘Try Them’ Movement and ‘Egypt without Detainees’ Campaign, called for protests on Monday against the extension of the state of emergency and curfew, the random arrests of civilians and the trial of civilians before military courts. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, said that re-enacting emergency law restores the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and overturns the principles and objectives of the January 25 Revolution. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, 9/15/2013]

Also of Interest:
Presidential elections will not precede parliamentary polls: Presidential adviser | Egypt Independent
Egypt interim president convenes leading politicians | Aswat Masriya
Interview with Egypt’s PM: emergency state prolonged, policies underway to boost economy despite obstacles | Egypt Independent
Popular Current to monitor rights violations by security forces | Egypt Independent, DNE
Strong Egypt criticizes ‘incapable’ interim government | DNE
Cabinet to discuss minimum and maximum wages | DNE
Government to pay tuition fees of public school students this year | DNE
Egypt government agrees on law to extend detention period | Aswat Masriya
NSF open to president with military background | Egypt Independent
Recent arrests ‘not random or political,’ PM insists | Mada Masr


Constituent Assembly continues discussion on amendments
As discussions on constitutional amendments continue, the Primary Fundamentals Sub-committee agreed to add the term “civil state” to Article 1 on Monday. Mohamed Salmawy, constitutional committee spokesman said on Sunday the committee is unlikely to amend Article 2 which defines the role of Islamic law in legislation, while Salafist Nour Party said that Azhar clerics should be given final say on Islamic Sharia articles in Egypt’s new constitution. Meanwhile, the Mounifiya Judges Club submitted a series of proposals concerning the judiciary authority’s chapter in the new constitution. The Tamarod movement has also announced the formation of a committee consisting of constitutional scholars and political experts to formulate a draft “Tamarod constitution” which will be presented to the fifty-member committee. The constituent assembly itself is currently discussing articles pertaining to the rights of persons with disabilities and prisoners, and is considering the drafting of an article that regulates providing disabled prisoners with legal assistance prior to investigations with them. [Ahram Online, SIS, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 9/16/2013]  

Former Mounifiya governor arrested; Hegazy acquitted in one case
Security services arrested former Mounifiya governor Ahmed Shaarawy on Saturday in a building located in 10th of Ramadan city in Sharqiya governorate, Ikhwanonline reported. He was arrested on charges of inciting violence and killing demonstrators. Meanwhile, Islamist preacher and Muslim Brotherhood ally Safwat Hegazy has been acquitted of charges of ‘inciting violence’ at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters on June 30, which left eight dead. Authorities have extended the detention of Muslim Brotherhood leader Sobhi Saleh, along with eighty-seven other members of the Islamist group. They will be detained for fifteen further days pending investigations into charges of inciting violence in Sidi Gaber, Alexandria in the aftermath of the July 3 overthrow of Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. The South Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday adjourned the trial of Salafi figure Hazem Salah Abu Ismail to October 21, on charges of forging his mother’s nationality when he presented it to the Supreme Elections Council in 2012, MENA reported. The trial was adjourned because security forces were unable to bring the defendant to the court for the second time in a row, citing security reasons. [Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, Amwal al-Ghad, DNE, Mada Masr, 9/15/2013]

Also of interest:
Egyptian military court postpones trial of Sinai journalist Abu Deraa | Ahram Online, SIS, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, DNE
Sixty-two Islamists referred to criminal court | Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya
Mubarak trial adjourned to October 19 | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
Court head declines to review case against Brotherhood supporters | Egypt Independent
Court freezes assets of Mubarak-era parliamentary speaker | Ahram Online, Amwal al-Ghad
Fate of Nahed Sherif has yet to be decided by court | DNE
Egypt arrests main suspects in Giza government HQ fire | Aswat Masriya
Cairo University withdraws proposal granting arrest power to guards | Ahram Online, Amwal al-Ghad


Egypt’s 2012/13 budget deficit reaches $35 billion: Initial figures
Egypt registered a state’s budget deficit of EGP 240 billion (about $34.8 billion) for the fiscal year 2012/13, representing 14 percent of GDP, initial figures released by finance ministry on Friday show. Egyptian Finance Minister Ahmed Galal has stated that the government aims to diminish the deficit to 9 percent of GDP, and to push up the growth rate to 4 percent. Egypt’s growth rate is expected to reach an average of 2.3 percent for the fiscal year 2012/13, according to initial figures announced. [Ahram Online, 9/14/2013]

Egypt gets Saudi oil shipments, rebuffs IMF aid at the moment
Egypt has received oil shipments worth $800 million from Saudi Arabia in the months of August and September, Tareq Al-Mullah, the CEO of the Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC), told Anadolu Agency. Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour said that the current government does not seek to obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Meanwhile, IMF communications’ director, Gerry Rice said on Thursday that the fund remains strongly committed to helping the Egyptian people deal with their economic and financial challenges. [DNE, Saudi Gazette, 09/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Economic experts discuss changes in new constitution | Egypt Independent
Egypt to cut prices of food sold in government outlets | Ahram Online, DNE
Egypt expands officials’ authority in bypassing public tender process | Ahram Online
Finance Minister: Social justice, recovering economy are government’s most important goals | SIS
1.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves in Damietta | SIS
International Cooperation Minister: Curfew affects trade, industry | SIS
Businessmen criticize government stance on minimum wage | DNE
Finance ministry denies claims of leniency for traffickers | DNE
Irrigation Minister: No plans to price irrigation water | Amwal al-Ghad
Finance Ministry: No reconciliation with weapons, drugs smugglers | Amwal al-Ghad
Egypt’s May trade deficit falls 30 percent | Ahram Online
CBE ‘pressured’ Qatar to transfer deposit to dollar bonds, sources say | Egypt Independent


Egypt’s Faraeen channel taken off air again
Egyptian television channel Faraeen, owned by controversial talk show host Tawfiq Okasha, was once again taken off the air on Saturday. According to sources at Media Production City, the channel’s transmission was halted because it served as a platform to “violate personal freedoms” and to make allegations that “affect the honor of many public figures,” breaking the media honor oath, Al-Ahram‘s Arabic website reported. Faraeen released a statement holding the “Fifth Column” and interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi responsible for the channel’s closure, also blaming Minister of Investment Osama Saleh and Chairman of the Media Free Zone, Abdel Moneim Al-Alfy. [Ahram Online, DNE, 9/15/2013]

Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue to stage protests; Two killed on Friday
Protest marches organized by the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday took to the streets in Cairo and other cities to mark the one-month anniversary of the violent dispersal by the police of two pro-Morsi sit-ins at Raba’a al-Adawiya and Nahda. One man was shot dead and six others were wounded in Egypt’s second city Alexandria, the health ministry said. Another man was killed and tens injured in clashes between Brotherhood supporters and opponents in Beni Suef. Security forces arrested a number of Muslim Brotherhood supporters on Friday in several Egyptian cities following clashes between the Islamist group’s supporters and opponents. On Saturday, tens of protesters calling for the reinstatement of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi headed towards Raba’a Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, but left immediately as the area saw heavy deployment of security forces. On Sunday, Metro stations were on high alertas supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood staged demonstrations in the Cairo metro to protest the legitimacy of the interim government. Protesters planned to cripple metro traffic by getting a large number of supporters to ride repeatedly from one end of the line to the other during peak hours, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again after 5 p.m. Authorities arrested twenty people at two metro stations for “causing disturbance” as they attempted to stage protests inside the subway, security sources said. Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood protesters also formed human chains on Sunday on the outskirts of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Online, Mada Masr, 9/15/2013]


Armed Forces defends its Sinai operation; Nine injured in Sinai bus attack
Spokesman for the Egyptian Armed Forces, Ahmed Ali, says there will be more military operations against “terrorist” strongholds in Sinai, adding there is no timeframe for army action in the Peninsula. The spokesman showcased the results of an ongoing security operation in Sinai targeting radical and terrorist strongholds at a press conference Sunday. He said the total number of casualties in the armed forces in Sinai since January 2011 has reached 125, in addition to over 996 injuries amongst forces members. Another eight Central Security Forces (CSF) conscripts were injured Monday when their bus came under attack west of al-Arish, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported. One civilian was also injured and all nine were transferred to the hospital. Meanwhile, Egyptian naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip’s southern coast and arrested two of them. A joint military campaign led by police and army forces continued on Friday, as militants were pursued in southern Sheikh Zuweid and eastern Rafah in the province of Northern Sinai, in the villages of al-Jura, al-Mugata, al-Zahir, al-Tuma, al-Zira’a, Abu Lafita and al-Tawil. In reaction to the army crackdown, Sinai-based jihadi group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has vowed to attack Egypt’s armed forces in response to recent military operations in the restive Egyptian peninsula. The group condemned the operations for affecting the lives of innocent civilians, including children and the elderly. [AP, SIS, Mada Masr, Reuters, DNE, SIS, Aswat Masriya, Amwal al-Ghad, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 9/16/2013]

Security forces retake control of Islamist stronghold in Upper Egypt
Security forces backed by armored vehicles and helicopters on Monday stormed a town south of Cairo, Delga, that had been held for over two months by militants loyal to the ousted Islamist president, swiftly taking control despite some resistance from gunmen. A temporary curfew was imposed on Monday morning in the town that has witnessed arson attacks on scores of churches, Christian-owned shops, homes and monasteries, according to local activists. At least forty-five people suspected of carrying out attacks on Christians, including murder, were arrested during the operation, officials told Ahram Online. AP reported a total of eighty-eight suspected militants arrested out of a list of 312 wanted men. In comments on its official website, the Muslim Brotherhood described the operation in Degla as part of a clamp down on Islamists who reject the “military coup” against Egypt’s first freely elected president. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, SIS, Mada Masr, Reuters, AP, Aswat Masriya, 9/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Turkish citizen accused of spying has detention extended for a third time | DNE, Reuters
Egypt’s interior ministry issues ultimatum over protest ‘excesses’ |  Ahram Online, Amwal al-Ghad
Forensics puts sit-ins’ dispersal death toll at 533 | DNE
Armed assailants kill army conscript, injure three on Ismailiya-Cairo road | Amwal al-Ghad, Ahram Online


Hamas denies Egyptian army’s accusations on Sinai
Hamas denied Sunday accusations made by the Egyptian army’s spokesman who said hand grenades bearing the stamp of the Palestinian Islamist group’s military wing were found in Sinai.
In a statement published on the information office website of the Islamic resistance movement, the group described the claims as “lies and fabrications.” Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said that his group will only use weapons against its “Israeli enemy,” amid intensive efforts by the Egyptian army to destroy tunnels linking Egypt’s eastern border with the Gaza Strip, and that his government will provide for its people following an intensified crackdown on the smuggling tunnels by Egyptian security forces. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has remained shut, crossing authorities said Sunday, amid calls to reopen the vital crossing to Gazans. Palestinian Authority Ambassador to Egypt Barakat al-Farra claimed on Sunday the Hamas Islamist group was “unable” to assess the Egyptian situation following President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. “Hamas is unable to see the situation correctly and has to review its policies regarding Egypt,” he said. [Ahram Online, DNE, Amwal al-Ghad, 9/16/2013]

Also of Interest:
Russian tourist companies to resume arrivals to Egypt | Egypt Independent
Egypt foreign minister seeks to promote cooperation with Russia | SIS
Mansour to visit Saudi Arabia and UAE before Eid al-Adha | SIS
Fahmy hopeful for region following US-Russian agreement on Syria | DNE
Thousands of Syrians flee Egypt for Italy: UNHCR | DNE
African Union delegation updates Peace and Security Council on Egypt | DNE
Majority Egyptians want ‘modern democratic state’: British ambassador | Ahram Online