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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Four years after a rioting mob did its best to destroy the Israel Embassy in Cairo and kill its staff, Israel’s 13th Ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, formally presented his credentials on Wednesday to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The new Israeli ambassador to Egypt has produced an introductory YouTube video so the average Egyptian could get to know him “personally,” in the privacy of their own homes, as well as become more familiar with Israel’s feelings about its relationship with their country and people. The video includes subtitles in English.
Govrin, 53, joined the ambassadors of seven other nations, standing one behind the other in line in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo, including new envoys from the United Arab Emirates and Somalia (with whom Israel has no diplomatic ties) as well as Netherlands, Myanmar, Mexico, Greece and Belgium. El-Sisi greeted the new envoys and wished them success, according to presidential spokesperson Ala’a Youssef.
Also present for the ceremony was Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who visited Israel last month. Cairo has been recently involved with Moscow in an effort to advance final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but thus far to no avail.
Govrin arrived in Cairo earlier this summer to set up his accommodations, having replaced his predecessor of two years, Haim Koren, on July 17. He served in the Cairo embassy in the 1990s as first secretary, and was named as the new envoy to Egypt last February following Koren’s request to return to Israel “for personal reasons.” Govrin served most recently as head of the Jordan and Morocco desk at Israel’s foreign ministry.
Although much has changed in Egypt over the past four years, the situation in some respects has remained much the same: the Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers who tore apart the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and supported the rise of President Mohammed Morsi, though today outlawed, nevertheless still attempt to overthrow el-Sisi.
The same elements also do what they can to assist the terrorist groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula, including those aligned with Al Qaeda and Da’esh (ISIS), among them the group today known as “Sinai Province,” formerly called Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis. In addition, other terrorist organizations also maintain bases in Sinai such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — all committed to Israel’s destruction.
A senior official at the Palestinian Authority told Israel Radio Sunday that Israel has refused an offer for a preparatory meeting with the PA side ahead of a possible summit meeting in Cairo between Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the official, the Cairo meeting is intended to prepare for the international peace conference which is being planned in Paris by the end of the year, possibly with representatives from both France and the US. Apparently, various sources have advised Netanyahu to send an envoy to meet with a PA representative to prepare the Cairo meeting, but Netanyahu refused.
“Netanyahu does not want negotiations for a permanent settlement, and as long as he is at the helm there will not be a Palestinian State,” the PA senior said.
The same official also told Israel Radio that the PA does not demand that Israel freeze settlement construction as a prerequisite to the Paris conference, but rather the freeze should coincide with the start of negotiations. He threatened that “should Netanyahu not arrive at the Paris conference, we expect France and the other participating states to recognize the Palestinian State, open Palestinian embassies in their own capitals and boycott the settlements.”
Regarding Defense Minister Liberman’s plan to bypass Abbas in developing communication channels with key people in the PA society, the senior official said Liberman has yet to learn the lesson of the Village Associations that were set up by the late Ariel Sharon as a bulwark against the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which eventually became the Hamas movement.
“[Liberman] is treating the Palestinians as if they were animals: if they follow the rules they’ll get food, if not — a kick in the behind. The Village Associations failed then and will fail today. No one will work with Liberman, people here are not traitors,” the official said, adding, “Israel can’t run the same experiment, change nothing and expect different results.”