Top News: US Judge Signs Order to Seize Kurdish Oil from Tanker off Texas
A US judge has signed an order telling the US Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the Texas coast, court filings showed on Tuesday. The order to seize the tanker was issued due to a request by the Iraqi central government.

Rocket attack kills girl in Sinai
A nine year-old girl was killed on Monday when a rocket hit the ground outside a house in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, in an apparent attack targeting soldiers, security officials said. Another girl, 10, was wounded in the blast south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai.The rocket was apparently targeting a security patrol that was passing through the area, security officials said. Meanwhile, the body of an infant killed after shells landed near a house in Sinai was returned to her relatives for burial after authorities made necessary investigations. [AFP, Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 7/29/2014]

Hamas, Islamic Jihad officials head to Cairo for Gaza talks
A Palestinian delegation, including representatives from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are to meet with Egyptian officials on ending the violence in Gaza. A Palestinian source said that the talks would discuss or possibly amend the Egyptian ceasefire proposal. In a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry, Egypt condemned the most recent strikes against a park in al-Shate camp and a health compound in Gaza, which left ten dead, including eight children. A new shipment of food and medical aid provided by the Egyptian army reached the Rafah border crossing on its way to Gaza, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported. [Ahram Online, 7/29/2014]

Clashes erupt between Morsi supporters and police following Eid prayers
Clashes erupted between pro-Morsi supporters, protesting the current government, and police forces following Eid prayers on Monday at dawn. Security forces dispersed hundreds protesting in Alexandria, Cairo, and Giza, demanding Morsi’s return. Alexandria Security Directorate Head Amin Ezz al-Din said that security forces arrested six protesters in Alexandria, allegedly in possession of weapons and anti-military flyers, and that two officers and a soldier were injured during the clashes. The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy issued a statement on Monday asserting that protesters were killed during the day’s demonstrations. The statement accused the regime of cancelling Eid prayers in several locations and cracking down on protests, causing more bloodshed. [Mada Masr, 7/28/2014]

Egypt Finance Ministry allocates EGP 1.95 billion for subsidies
The ministry of supply and internal trade has received EGP 1.95 billion ($272.67 million) from Egypt’s finance ministry as a first installment for the provision of subsidized goods required for the new subsidy system, deputy head of the General Authority for Supply Commodities Mamdouh Abdel Fattah said in a Monday press statement. [Cairo Post, 7/28/2014]


Ceasefire in Libya airport fight to battle fire
Militias fighting for control of the airport in Tripoli have agreed to a twenty-four-hour cease-fire to allow firefighters to battle an out-of-control fire at its oil depot, according to authorities. The ceasefire agreement, reached late Monday night and mediated by the Tripoli local council, marked a rare pause in two weeks of fighting in the capital, the worst violence since the ouster of Moammar Qaddafi in 2011. The clashes earlier this month forced authorities to shut down the airport after it was devastated by shelling during inter-militia battles for control of the installation. [AP, 7/29/2014]

Canada temporarily pulls diplomats out of Libya
Canada is the latest country to pull its diplomats out of violence-ridden Libya due to fears about their safety. “Due to operational challenges, including the unpredictable security environment in Tripoli, we have authorized the temporary suspension of operations at our office in Tripoli,” said Foreign Minister John Baird in a statement. Meanwhile, the Spanish foreign ministry said Spain would send aircraft to evacuate its citizens and reduce its embassy staff but that it would not “completely eliminate” its diplomatic presence in Libya. [Reuters, 7/29/2014]

UN representative warns armed groups “retribution is coming”
Libya’s UN representative, Ibrahim al-Dabashi, has joined the chorus of warnings that the armed groups battling in Tripoli and Benghazi will be brought to justice. The world was watching, he said, and would take action. There was, he said, a growing consensus that the groups’ attacks on civilians and on public facilities were considered war crimes and that therefore they should be tried before the International Criminal Court. The international community has also considered imposing sanctions on the groups’ leaders, Dabbashi added. [Libya Herald, 7/28/2014]


Syrian rebels advance towards key airport in Hama province
Syrian rebels pressed on with a fresh advance in the central province of Hama, as they attempt to take out its military airport, a rebel commander and a monitor said Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Right announced that the “rebels are now nine kilometers [six miles] away from Hama military airport, which they want to put out of action.” [AFP, 7/29/2014]

Syrian defector displays photos of mutilated bodies
A Syrian defector, who smuggled out thousands of photos of mutilated corpses, showed some of those images in Washington on Monday. The images depicted prisoners who were tortured and killed by the security services of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The defector, simply known as “Caesar,” gave a presentation to a small group of reporters and researchers in the Holocaust Memorial Museum and answered questions about the photographs. [Washington Post, 7/28/2014]

Australia issues arrest warrants for two citizens fighting in Syria
Tuesday, Australian police issued arrest warrants for two Australian citizens accused of fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and photographing the severed heads of Syrian soldiers. The warrant were issued for two citizens named Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar. An Australian government security official said Mr. Sharrouf is believed to have posted on Twitter a photograph of a man thought to be Mr. Elomar holding two severed heads. [Wall Street Journal, 7/29/2014]

UN warns of sanctions for oil-trading with ISIS
The UN Security Council expressed strong concerns in a statement released on Monday over reports that radical militants have seized oilfields and pipelines in Syria and Iraq. The Security Council warned that any country caught buying oil from the jihadist could face sanctions. The Russian government drafted the statement and it constituted strong condemnations for any direct or indirect trade engagements between any government and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. [Reuters, 7/29/2014]


Spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia set free
Spokesman for the banned group Ansar al-Sharia Seifeddine Rais was set free, official spokesman for the Tunisian court of first instance Allela Rhouma said. “The investigating judge made this decision for lack of solid evidence that requires Erraeis’ arrest,” he added, assuring that investigations are being carried on. Seifeddine Erraeis was arrested Saturday in Kairouan (midland of Tunisia) for involvement in the networks that send Tunisian jihadists to Syria. [TAP, 7/28/2014]

Tunisia to get twelve US Black Hawk helicopters
The administration of President Barack Obama has approved a Tunisian request for US military helicopters. Under the request, expected to be approved by Congress, Tunisia would receive twelve UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters in a sale estimated at $700 million. “The sale of these UH-60 helicopters will bolster Tunisia’s ability to provide border patrol, rapid reaction, and field expedient medical evacuation for its air and ground forces in counterterrorism and border security operations,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. The prime contractor has been identified as Sikorsky Aircraft, manufacturer of the Black Hawk. Another key contractor would be General Electric, slated to supply the aircraft engines. [World Tribune, 7/28/2014]

ISIE may further extend the voter registration deadline
Nabil Baffoun, member of the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) stated today, July 29, that 735,000 new voters are registered for the upcoming elections. He added that ISIE is considering again extending the registration deadline. A key concern is that there are many new university-level students who do not yet know which university they will attend in the fall, and thus are unsure in which territory they should be registered to vote. [Mosaique FM, 7/29/2014]


Yemeni military commander survives assassination attempt
Six officers were wounded on Monday in an assassination attempt on Commander of the 33 Armory Abdullah Dai’an in Dalea. Unidentified militants fired two mortars on the commander’s car before escaping. This is the second attempt at Commander Dai’an’s life. [Al Masdar (Arabic), 7/28/2014]

Saudi Arabia intensifies border security with Yemen
Saudi security forces intensified operations on both land and sea borders during Eid al-Fitr holiday. Arrests on the border during Ramadan were mostly Yemenis and African nationals, the latter were usually transported to the Saudi–Yemeni border for a fee by smugglers and were seeking to enter Saudi illegally. Ongoing instability in Yemen and an earlier attack on the Saudi-Yemeni border by al-Qaeda affiliates have placed considerable attention on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen. [Asharq Al Awasat, 7/29/2014]

Yemen introduces measures to curb government spending
The Yemeni government this month began implementing a reform package to address the country’s financial problems as part of a broader financial and administrative reform plan. Government spending reductions include a moratorium on the purchase of cars for supreme authority employees. [Al-Shorfa, 7/28/2014]


US judge signs order to seize Kurdish oil from tanker off Texas
A US judge has signed an order telling the US Marshals Service to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan aboard a tanker off the Texas coast, court filings showed on Tuesday. The order to seize the tanker was issued due to a request by the Iraqi central government. The Iraqi government declared that the regional government of Kurdistan sold the oil from Baghdad without permission, which amounts to smuggling. [Reuters, 7/29/2014]

France says it is ready to facilitate asylums for Iraq’s Christians
France said Monday it was ready to help facilitate asylum for Christians in Iraq displaced by the jihadist onslaught. In a statement, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that ” France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness,” and the country is ready to facilitate asylums for those in need. The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham ordered Christian families to convert to Islam or leave the city, prompting the mass exodus. [AFP, 7/29/2014]

North Korea denounce supplying arms to Hezbollah
North Korea has denounced allegations that it supplied missiles to Hamas and material support to Hezbollah as sheer fiction and a sinister effort to link Pyongyang to the Middle East conflicts. The rebuttal from the foreign ministry was carried in a statement late Monday by the North’s official KCNA news agency. The denouncement comes after a US federal judge in Washington ruled that North Korea had provided advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. [AFP, 7/29/2014]