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Egypt Blog

Keep up with all the latest developments in Egypt as unrest continues to cripple the country following the military's removal of Mohamed Morsi as president on July 3.

  • Jihadist group claims bombing of tourist bus in Egypt

    Jihadist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis on Tuesday claimed the suicide bombing in Egypt of a tour bus that killed three South Koreans and their local driver, according to AFP news agency.

    "One of the heroes of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis carried out the attack on a tourist bus heading towards the Zionist entity (Israel)," said a statement attributed to the group and posted on jihadist forums.

    The bombing on Sunday, near the Taba border crossing with Israel, was the first targeting tourists since the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July sparked a militant campaign that has killed scores of police and soldiers. [AFP]

  • An injured South Korean woman is seen in her room at Sharm International Hospital in the Red Sea town of Sharm el-Sheikh, a day after a tourist bus was targeted by a bomb in the Egyptian south Sinai resort town of Taba. [AFP]
  • Property builder to spend $860m on Cairo project

    A property building in Egypt has announced that it will spend up to US$861.91-m on a residential and commercial project in Cairo after signing a protocol with Egypt's government, it said in a statement.

    Emaar Misr will build Emaar Square, which is part of its 4.5 million square metre development called Uptown Cairo. 

    On Sunday, Emaar signed a protocol with the Egyptian Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Investment and the Cairo authorities in order to start work on Emaar Square. 

    The firm will begin work on Emaar Drive that will connect Uptown Cairo to key destinations in central and greater Cairo.

    Egypt has struggled to attract foreign investors due to economic and political instability after the popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. 

    The army, prompted by mass protests, overthrew the country's first democratically elected leader Mohamed Mursi in July, and the government launched a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters, sparking another wave of unrest in the country of 85 million.

    But the army-backed interim government, supported by more than $12bn in aid from Gulf Arab states, is pushing on with a political roadmap that will lead to presidential and parliamentary elections this year. [Reuters]
  • Suicide bomber caused deadly bus blast in Egypt

    Egyptian security officials have said a suicide bomber was behind the deadly blast that tore through a bus carrying South Korean tourists.

    They said the bomber boarded the bus while it waited near the Egypt-Israel border crossing at Taba in the Sinai Peninsula. 

    The Egyptian driver and the South Korean guide had disembarked but were close to the bus when Sunday's blast took place, according to the officials.

    The Egyptian officials spoke on condition of anonymity on Monday, because they were not authorised to speak to the media South Korean officials said the bombing killed three South Koreans and an Egyptian driver.

    The tourists were Korean Christians who had saved for years to visit Biblical sites on their church's 60th anniversary. [AP]
  • South Korea voiced "shock" and "outrage" on Monday at the bombing of the tourist bus in Egypt that killed three of its nationals as well as the Egyptian driver.

    A further 14 of its citizens were injured, according to the South Korean foreign ministry.

    Read the full story here.
  • UPDATE: At least four people have been killed in the blast, including the Egyptian bus driver. 


    [AFP] 



  • The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, but officials believe it was either a car bomb or a roadside bomb, according to AP news agency.

    [AFP] 


  • The AFP news agency reports that three people were killed in the explosion, citing Egyptian police. Al Jazeera cannot verify that figure, and no other news agencies have reported the same.
  • There are reports of a tourist bus being blown up in Sinai, near the Taba crossing on the border area with Israel near Eilat. Taba resort is popular with Israeli tourists, and other foreigners. We'll have more soon. Early reports say four people were injured.

    Taba was the scene of a hotel bombing in 2004.
  • A trial against deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been adjourned in Cairo.
     
    He's facing charges of espionage, and carrying out what prosecutors call "terror attacks".
     
    Egyptian state TV said the defence team withdrew, because Morsi was being held in a glass cage during the proceedings. 

  • The trial of three Al Jazeera English journalists detained in Egypt for 49 days is due to begin on February 20. The Egyptian authorities detained Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohammed and Peter Greste on December 29, accusing them of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt declared a terrorist organization. Al Jazeera rejects all charges and continues to demand the unconditional release of its staff.

  • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans against the military and the Interior Ministry during a protest around Ain Shams square in east Cairo on Friday. The placard reads: "Our victory coming soon". [Reuters]


  • Clashes between supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi police killed two people Friday, including a child, security officials said.

    The violence erupted after weekly Muslim prayers, as on nearly every Friday since the army overthrew Morsi in July, with supporters of the Islamist leader clashing with police.

    Supporters of Morsi, who is in jail and on trial in four separate cases, including inciting the murder of protesters when he was president, are clamouring for his return.

    Security officials said a 12-year-old child was killed by gunfire in the province of Minya, south of Cairo, during clashes between police and Morsi supporters. [Reuters]


  • This image, which activists circulated on social media, allegedly shows 19-year-old Dahab, who was arrested on January 14, and whose detention has been repeatedly extended since then, without any charges.

    Activists say that Dahab was pregnant when she was detained, and when she went into labour on Friday, she was initially not allowed to go to the hospital to give birth.

    Ultimately, and under pressure from lawyers, Dahab was taken to a hospital where she gave birth to a baby girl, who she named "Horreya" or "Freedom."

    According to activists, the handcuffs were not removed throughout the whole process of giving birth.

    Al Jazeera was unable to immediately verify the accuracy of this story.


  • Egypt's army said it arrested two fighters in Sinai, which it accused of complicity in the downing of a helicopter in January through firing a rocket at it. 

    Colonel Ahmed Ali, army spokesperson, said on his official Facebook page that "extremely dangerous" fighters were arrested on Thursday in the peninsula's Sheikh Zuwayed. 

    The surface-to-air missile used to shoot down the helicopter killed all five soldiers who were on board.



  • It has been 6 months since the Egyptian army brutally dispersed two months-long vigils in Cairo, where protesters supporting Islamist President Mohamed Morsi have peacefully camped against his oust.

    The dispersal resulted in the death of more than a thousand people, leaving many more wounded, in what is deemed Egypt's bloodiest spill in decades.
  • Russia and Egypt are nearing a $3-billion arms purchase agreement that will be financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a Moscow newspaper reported on Friday.

    The two sides have already either "initialled or signed" contracts for Egypt's purchase of Mig-29 fighters, air and coastal defence systems, Mi-35 attack helicopters and smaller arms, the Vedomosti daily quoted two Russian government sources as saying.

    The report came out one day after talks in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's, the North African country's likely new head of state. [AFP]
  • Egyptian authorities on Thursday ordered new trials for 242 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the latest in a series of mass tribunals against backers of the ousted Islamist president over protests and violence.

    Thousands have been arrested in a crackdown on Mohammed Morsi's supporters since his ouster in July.

    Recently, authorities have announced a string of trials of low-level Brotherhood members, each with dozens of defendants.

    In the latest cases, the officials said Thursday that 170 Islamists in the southern city of Assiut were charged with storming and burning government installations.

    Another 72 in Beheira province, northwest of Cairo, will be tried on charges of attempted murder, illegal protests and acquisition of firearms.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief reporters.

    Meanwhile, Egypt's prosecutor general ordered an inquiry into a complaint accusing the country's top satirist Bassem Youssef for mocking the military and its top commander Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

    Youssef was back on air on Friday ridiculing the sweeping nationalist fervour that gripped Egyptians after the military ouster of Morsi and the subsequent euphoria surrounding el-Sisi, widely expected to run for president.
    [AP] 

  • Gunmen shot dead two policemen south of the Egyptian capital late on
    Thursday, in a third straight day of fatal attacks on  
    police, security
    officials said.

    The unknown assailants opened fire on the two policemen
    in the town of
    Badrashin, 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Cairo in Giza
    province, the
    officials said.

    The latest deaths bring to 24 the number of policemen killed in militant attacks since January 23, according to an AFP tally based on reports by security officials.

    On Wednesday evening, a policeman guarding a church
    in a northern Cairo
    neighbourhood was killed in clashes with Morsi
    supporters, security officials
    said earlier. [AFP]



  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would support a presidential bid from Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, wishing him luck after holding talks in Moscow.

    "I know that you, Mr defence minister, have decided to run for president of Egypt," Putin said, according to Russian news reports.

    "It's a very responsible decision... I wish you luck both from myself personally and from the Russian people."

    Sisi, who is widely expected to run for the job, has not yet officially declared his candidacy and there was no announcement from the Egyptian government.

    To read the full story, click here.



  • Egypt's powerful military chief is in Russia to discuss his country’s bilateral relations with the Kremlin.

    The trip is the first foreign engagement for Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is also the country’s defence minister and widely expected to run for president.

    He and Nabil Fahmy, the Egyptian foreign minister, are holding separate talks with Sergei Shoigu and Sergei Lavrov, Russian defence and foreign ministers.

    Sisi is also scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
  • Egypt's Sabahi calls for release of "prisoners of conscience"
    Sabahi has called for the release of what he called "prisoners of conscience" [EPA] 

    Egyptian politician Hamdeen Sabahi on Wednesday called for the release of what he termed "prisoners of conscience," days after he announced he would run for president.

    "At the moment there are real prisoners of conscience in Egypt," Sabahi said in an interview with a privately-owned television channel. 

    He was referring to young people involved in the 2011 uprising that swept autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power and the 2013 protest movement against Morsi.

    "I demand that those leave in freedom in the style appropriate for a country under the rule of law," he said.

    Sabahi, 59, came in third in 2012's presidential elections, won by Morsi. 

    "I don't accept either the existence of a prisoner because he has an opinion while not having any connection with terrorism, or the existence of any kind of torture," Sabahi said.

    "The children of the revolution are imprisoned and the corrupt of the Mubarak regime have reappeared and these two things create feelings of fear."
    [Reuters] 
  • The Egyptian government will outlaw the import of three-wheeled motorized vehicles known as "tok-toks" in an attempt to alleviate traffic congestion, officials announced Wednesday.

    Tok-toks were not allowed inside Cairo but are common in many of the poorer neighborhoods on the outskirts of the capital and are widely used in the countryside. However, many Egyptians feel their appearance in central districts following the 2011 uprising is a sign of declining standards of law and order.

    Egyptian state television says the Cabinet decided that it will stop imports of new tok-toks for at least a year, as a trial. The government will also prohibit the import of parts for at least three months.

    Former President Hosni Mubarak championed the vehicle as part of his 2005 election platform to create jobs.

    Since then, the Indian-made model has proliferated around the country, with boys as young as ten working as drivers. [AP]

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned Egypt's charges against Al Jazeera staff, and said that press freedom in the country is in sharp decline.

    Three journalists from Al Jazeera English have been jailed in Cairo since December 29, charged with links to a "terrorist organisation" and "spreading false news". Other reporters of the channel are wanted by the government.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, CPJ's Middle East coordinator, Sherif Mansour, called the charges "baseless".

    "We know it's a political case," he said. "They're basically charged for being journalists. There is no evidence that suggest they have incited violence."

    To read the full story, click here.

  • A US Congressman has pressed the White House on its efforts to free Al Jazeera journalists detained in Egypt.

    Speaking at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Hank Johnson said freedom of the press was an important part of any democracy.

  • Dr H.A. Hellyer, a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution in DC, and an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in London, reflects on Egypt's current political divide and the "lessons from a lost revolution."

    "Caught amidst a dangerous game of zero-sum brinkmanship, it is ordinary Egyptians who truly suffer the most. "

    To read the full article in Salon online magazine, click HERE.


  • Abdullah Al-Arian, assistant professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Doha, talks to Al Jazeera about the political turmoil in Egypt.

    Al-Arian said that since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak three years ago, the socio-economic issues that beset the country before he left office have only escalated.

  • Fire collapses overpass in Cairo, kills policeman

    Egypt's state news agency has reported that an overpass in eastern Cairo collapsed after a fire broke out in a slum settlement underneath it. 

    The collapse on Tuesday killed a policeman.

    MENA news agency said the overpass in the populous al-Marg district crumbled when gas cylinders in the shanty town underneath it exploded early on Tuesday.

    The accident forced authorities to close several nearby subway stations. 

    Egypt frequently sees deadly accidents caused by poor management and a decrepit infrastructure, especially over the three years of turmoil following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 popular uprising. [AP]
  • Egypt marks third year anniversary of Mubarak's ouster

  • Armed group blows up Sinai gas pipeline

    Suspected militants blew up a gas pipeline in Egypt's Sinai peninsula and gunmen shot dead a policeman in the Suez canal city of Ismailia, security officials said.

    In the Sinai, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip, armed groups on Tuesday planted a bomb under a pipeline that transports gas to an industrial area south of al-Arish city, security officials said.

    No one was injured in the attack, the fourth this year in the restive peninsula.

    In Ismailiya, two unknown gunmen riding a motorcycle shot dead the policeman while he was standing at a traffic light, officials said.

    Attacks in the Sinai and violence targeting soldiers and policemen across Egypt have surged since the military's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

    Since January 23, 18 policemen have been killed in militant attacks, according to an AFP tally based on reports by security officials.
  • Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste's father issues new plea to Egypt to release his son.

    Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed will face their first hearing on February 20, charged with links to a "terrorist organisation" and "spreading false news".

  • Regarding Morsi: According to Al Jazeera's Egypt desk, which has a recording of the conversation, it is in fact Morsi's lawyer who states that further protests are "useless". The original report will remain on this live blog but we are awaiting a clarification from our Egypt team.


  • More protests useless, says Morsi


    Today is the third anniversary of the fall of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, in a popular uprising.
    Yesterday, a video was leaked of his successor, Mohamed Morsi, who himself was toppled last year. According to the Associated Press news agency, Morsi says in the video of a private conversation with his lawyer, that protests by his supporters are now "useless''.

    In the recording, which was made during the week of February 1-5 and reviewed by AP, Morsi asks his lawyer what is happening on the streets.

    The lawyer 
    tells him that protests and clashes continue but are not productive  and negotiations should be held.

    "This is all without a result," Mohammed Salim el-Awah says. "People must sit and talk and find a solution.''

    "It's useless for the two sides," Morsi responds
    . "How will we stop all the deaths? Enough deaths."

    In another part of the recording, Morsi asked if Field Marshall Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi would be Egypt's next president.

    "God willing, he will 
    be,'' el-Awah  says, to which Morsi responded: "Is he not afraid of a coup?"

    Sisi lead the army's removal of Morsi last July, following large protests against the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president.

    Another member of his legal team has protested about the release of the video, which the AP states was leaked by Egyptian "security authorities".
  • Sinai attack

    Egyptian security officials say suspected al-Qaeda-inspired fighters have blown up a natural gas pipeline in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

    The officials say the explosion took place early on Tuesday in a desert area south of el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai. The pipeline carries natural gas to Jordan and feeds heavy industry factories in central Sinai.

    The officials told the Associated Press news agency that pipeline technicians were forced to shut the flow of gas in order to get the fire under control. 

    There have been scores of attacks on the pipeline since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the security vacuum that ensued.

    A Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, has claimed several such bombings.
  • Egypt ratifies death sentences on 14 for attacks

    Egyptian state TV is reporting that the presidency has ratified the death sentences of 14 men convicted in connection to attacks in the Sinai Peninsula during the country's 2011 uprising.

    Eight were tried in absentia.

    The armed group "Monotheism and Jihad" was blamed for attacks on police, soldiers, and a bank near al-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.

    During their trials in 2012, six of the men were present in the courtroom, while another eight were fugitives. Four other men in the case were sentenced to life imprisonment.

    Attacks in the Sinai have spiked since the 2013 toppling of President Mohammed Morsi. Another group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Champions of Jerusalem, has claimed many of them. [AP]
  • Al Jazeera's Marwan Bishara writes for the New York Times on the detention of Al Jazeera staff in Cairo and Egypt's war on journalism:

    In a country that is terribly polarized and dangerously tense, one Egyptian’s hard news is another’s false report. The government and its lackeys portray journalists and critics as spies and traitors, using baseless innuendo.

    Read the full article HERE
  • A Cairo appeals court has set February 20 as the date for the first hearing in the trial of imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists, according to Egypt's state news agency. 

    Several other defendants are included in the case.
  • Al-Monitor contributor and Egypt analyst @Bassem_Sabry writes about the political consequence of Hamdeen Sabahi's bid for the presidency:


     

    https://twitter.com/AlMonitor/status/432838891939172352

  • Local and international journalists gathered in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi to call for the release of Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt.
  • Egypt unveils $4.9-bn stimulus package to prop up economy

    Egypt's interim government has unveiled its second stimulus package, which will inject $4.87-bn into the economy, with most of that money coming from aid pledged by the United Arab Emirates.

    Ahmed Galal, the finance minister, said in a statement on Monday that the new spending would be financed mostly by the United Arab Emirates, one of the Gulf Arab countries that has pledged billions of dollars in support for Egypt.

    The first stimulus package was launched in August.

    Three years of political unrest since a popular uprising ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have scared away investors and tourists, weighing on economic growth. [Reuters]
  • Egyptian authorities accuse Brotherhood of forming 'military wing'

    [Reuters] 


    Egyptian authorities have accused the Muslim Brotherhood of forming a "military wing" to stage attacks on security forces in a southern province, the Associated Press news agency says. 

    The alleged armed branch evoked by the Interior Ministry on Sunday was described as being based in the city of Beni Suef, about 115 km  south of Cairo.

    Hani Abdel-Latif, a ministry spokesman,  named 12 people he said belonged to the alleged Brotherhood-led unit.

    In a televised statement, Abdel-Latif said the group ran surveillance, hunted down security forces, and provided shelter for militants. 

    The ministry accused the men of killing five policemen and plotting more attacks. 

    Abdel-Latif's statement was followed by footage of a man who identified himself as part of a group that killed five policemen in attacks from motorcycles last month. He said he was the son of a Brotherhood leader and had received weapons training.

    The Muslim Brotherhood has always denied violence and accuses authorities of orchestrating attacks to justify a crackdown that has only intensified since the interim government labelled it a terrorist organisation. 

    An al-Qaeda-inspired group based in the eastern Sinai Peninsula has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks over the past months. [AP]

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