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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Cairo’

Gaza Businessmen to Meet with Egyptians on Improving Economic Situation

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

A delegation of Gaza businessmen and civil society professionals will travel to Egypt on Sunday for a conference on the current economic situation in the impoverished Gaza Strip, Ma’an reported Saturday.

Osama Kheil, a spokesman for the union of contractors in Gaza, told Ma’an that the 38 businessmen from Gaza had been invited to the “Ain Sokhna 2” conference, organized by the National Center for Middle East Studies.

Ain Sokhna (Arabic: the Hot Spring) is a resort town on the western shore of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Eilat, some 75 miles east of Cairo.

The conference will discuss the economic situation in Gaza and strategies for improving the dire living conditions of the civilian population. The Gazan delegation will emphasize the need for coordination with Egyptian authorities in regards to the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which serves as a lifeline for Gazans, in the hope of “keeping the border open as long as possible.”

In October 2014 Egypt announced plans to expand the buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, following a terrorist attack from Gaza that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers. The buffer was “a move meant to halt the passage of weapons and militants through cross-border smuggling tunnels but which also puts more pressure on the Palestinian militant Hamas group.” Egyptian authorities ordered residents living along the eastern border to evacuate their homes prior to their demolishing. The new 1,000 yard wide buffer zone includes water-filled trenches that block tunnel diggers along the 8 mile.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian authorities demolished between July 2013 and August 2015 at least 3,255 residential, commercial, administrative, and community buildings along the border, forcibly evicting thousands of people.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas agreed with the Egyptian operation, saying the smuggling tunnels under the border had produced 1,800 millionaires, and were used for smuggling weapons, drugs, cash and forgery equipment. The total cost to the Gazan economy was estimated at $70 million. On September 11, 2015, the Egyptian army began to pump water from the Mediterranean Sea into the tunnels, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas condemned the flooding saying it posed a serious threat to Gaza’s environment and ground water. In November 2015, large areas of soil collapsed as a result of the flooding, threatening homes in Rafah. Salt water came out of the ground, contaminating the soil, making it unusable for agriculture.

Or, as the Ma’an report put it on Saturday: The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade.

JNi.Media

Moscow: Egypt ‘No Longer Able to Count on Washington’ to Fight Sinai Terror

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Russia is moving in to train with Egypt in military strategies, equipment and personnel and build a closer relationship towards the goal of “helping” in the fight to contain and trim back terrorists in the northern Sinai.

Towards that end, Russia and Egypt are set to carry out their first-ever joint anti-terror military exercise “in a desert environment. The joint paratroopers’ drill in Egypt is to involve six air fields and 15 aircraft and helicopters for various purposes, in addition to 10 combat vehicles, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian airborne troops are to be sent to the north of Africa on an Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft in mid-October, the ministry told the English-language edition of Gazeta.ru. “Special attention is given to the knowledge of the customs and traditions of the Egyptian people”, the Defense Ministry said.

According to the report, Russia will work together with Egypt on developing “a common approach to encircling and destroying illegal armed formations in a desert environment.”

Russia contends that Egypt has lost control over the northern Sinai, which has become a terrorist stronghold, and is “no longer able to count on Washington’s support in this matter.”

The Sinai Province terror group pledged to Da’esh (ISIS), plus numerous other Salafi Muslim extremist groups, Muslim Brotherhood-backed terrorist organizations, Hamas terrorist agents from the Izz a-Din al-Qassam military wing, operatives from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah terrorist organization and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades all have established bases in the Sinai Peninsula.

Professor Vladimir Isayev, based at the Institute of Asia and Africa at Moscow State University, says he believes that if the terrorists now operating in northern Sinai attempt to expand their territory, the [Egyptian] army would like to count on Moscow’s support. “It is unlikely that it is paratroopers that will participate, but as for the Russian Aerospace Forces, it is quite likely.”

Israel and Egypt have been working together to fend off attackers and prevent large-scale terror attacks from these groups for some time. So it’s not yet clear what response the Israeli government may have to this latest new development, especially given the outcomes of Russia’s “assistance” to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Egypt has recently purchased Mistral helicopter carriers from France with pre-installed Russian equipment that were originally destined for the Russian army, Isayev told Gazeta.ru .

Moscow analysts do not expect the United States to respond to the drill, nor to the Egyptian purchase of Russian-equipped French helicopters. “Egypt is a strategically very important country for the U.S.pointed out Semyon Bagdasarov, direcctor of the Moscow-based Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia. He added that America’s relationship with Israel and U.S. treatment in the Middle East is likely to depend on Egypt. “Plus, control of the Suez Canal,” he said.

Hana Levi Julian

Cairo Court Postpones Morsi Appeal Hearing

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

An Egyptian Court on Saturday postponed the hearing of an appeal by deposed president Mohamed Morsi, the Anadolu Agency reported. Morsi appealed his sentence of 20 years in prison, along with eight co-defendants. The nine men had been convicted of incitement to violence and killing protesters outside the presidential complex.

An anonymous source inside Egypt’s judiciary told Anadolu that the Court of appeals postponed the hearing to Oct. 22, in response to a request by Morsi’s defense team, which said it needed the time to study the prosecution’s memorandum rejecting their appeal.

The case emanated from the bloody clashes on Dec. 5, 2012, in front of the Presidential Palace, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi’s opponents. Those clashes resulted in the deaths of 10 people. In April 2015, the Cairo Criminal Court found Morsi guilty, along with 14 other defendants, six of them in absentia.

Morsi was also sentenced to death in April 2015, over a 2011 jailbreak. In June 2016 he was given a life sentence for passing state secrets to Qatar.

David Israel

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Shot and Killed by Security Force in Cairo

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

A key leader of the armed wing of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood was killed by security forces in Cairo, the Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement that Mohamed Kamal, 61, was shot and killed Monday night in his apartment together with his aide, Yasser Shehata, Reuters reported.

Kamal had been sentenced in absentia to life in prison after being convicted on charges of establishing an armed group, and detonating an explosion near a police station. Shehata was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for assault and holding a citizen against his will in the Brotherhood headquarters.

According to the report, a lawyer representing the families of the two men told Reuters they both surrendered to police when they arrived at 6 pm Monday. A group of police stayed with the men at Kamal’s apartment while others reportedly went to search Shehata’s nearby apartment. At around 11:30 pm, ‘police concluded the search and shot the men… both Kamal and Shehata were shot in the head.’

The Muslim Brotherhood alleged on its social media accounts that Kamal had disappeared Monday afternoon, hours before the announcement of his death by the Egyptian Interior Ministry.

Kamal was accused of involvement in the June 2015 assassination of Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Hisham Barakat, the highest-ranking Egyptian official to be murdered in 25 years. He was also accused of attempting to assassinate former Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Goma’a in Cairo this past August. He also was a member of the Brotherhood’s top-level Guidance Bureau, and headed the Supreme Administrative Committee until this past May.

The Interior Ministry said in its statement security personnel raided the apartment Monday night after learning it was being used as a base for the Muslim Brotherhood. When the forces were met with gunfire they fired back, killing the two men.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been outlawed prior to the overthrow of the Mubarak regime, during the 2011 Arab Spring. Following the overthrow of Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi by the army in July 2014, the group was declared a terrorist organization.

The subsequent military government eventually led to a subsequent presidential election won a year after the takeover by current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who formerly led the army.

Hana Levi Julian

Israelis Ignore Warnings, Flock to Turkey for High Holiday Vacation

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Despite warnings by the counter-terrorism center against travel to dangerous Middle east destinations, Israelis this Rosh Hashanah are flocking to the clear blue waters of southern Turkey. Search indicators of the tourism website HotelsCombined show a 40% rise in searches from Israel for hotels in Turkey, again, despite specific warnings against going to Turkey this season. The demand is greatest for the coastal cities along Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore: Antalya, Belek and Alanya, but demand for Istanbul vacations has also gone up by 30% compared with last year.

Israelis are taking warnings regarding Egyptian vacations more seriously, and while Israeli demand for Cairo hotels is up, requests for the Sharm Al Sheikh hotels at the southernmost tip of the Sinai peninsula have dropped by 22% compared with a year ago.

HotelsCombined CEO Eyal Segal says the sharp rise in Israeli demand for Turkish vacations is the result of an increase in the number of flights between Israel and Turkey, the thawing in the relationship between the two countries, and the reduced hotel prices in Turkey, just in time for the Jewish holidays.

“Israeli tourists by now have figured that every place is dangerous, which is why eco

nomic considerations overcome security concerns, and the average Israeli is not quick to panic about a flight to a country about which there have been warnings,” Segal said, noting that “regarding the Sinai, there we see a greater adherence to the warnings because tourists stand out and can be easily marked in the desert, as opposed to the big cities where they feel that the disappear in the crowd.”

JNi.Media

Cairo: All 29 Egyptian Pilgrims in Mecca Perished of ‘Natural Causes’

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Five Egyptians died in Saudi Arabia on Monday and one more on Tuesday, during Hajj pilgrimage, raising the total number of deaths to 29, the Egyptian Health Ministry said in a statement. So far, ministry officials continue to insist all these deaths have happened due to natural causes. The departed Egyptian citizens belong to different groups of pilgrims.

Dr. Khalid Mujahid, the ministry’s spokesman, said that other Egyptian pilgrims have been receiving medical care in several hospitals in Saudi Arabia. He said most of the cases of death were the result of  fatigue.

The health ministry launched an awareness campaign before the Hajj to alert Egyptians as to ways of preventing infectious diseases during the pilgrimage. The ministry also stated that it had reviewed and approved the availability of medicine and essential medical equipment for all the pilgrims.

An estimated 86,000 Egyptian pilgrims traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, which this year started last Saturday.

David Israel

Hamas PM Haniyeh Leaves Gaza on Hajj, With Trips to Qatar, Turkey

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Hamas de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh left Gaza on Monday with thousands of others, traveling through the Rafah crossing with Egypt on the Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca.

Egypt opened its sole crossing with Gaza for a three-day period to accommodate the Gaza residents who are traveling to Mecca for the annual Hajj.

However, according to the Hamas radio station the Gaza-based head of the terrorist organization is also making a couple of side trips while he is out of the region.

Haniyeh is taking the opportunity while he is abroad to visit Qatar and Turkey. There was no information on when he was expected to return from the trip, nor were there details on his agenda while in Doha and Ankara.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-pm-haniyeh-leaves-gaza-on-hajj-with-trips-to-qatar-turkey/2016/09/05/

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