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Egypt: Arrests of alleged Islamic State members continue as group threatens Christians

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Five alleged members of the militant group Islamic State were referred to the Criminal Court by the prosecution on Friday, state-owned media reported. Arrested members, was planning a trip to Libya to train themselves before to come back in Egypt to carry out terrorists attacks. In a recent development, the leader (emir) of the Islamic State’s branch in Egypt warned Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings, as well as military, security, and governmental facilities, which are “legitimate targets for the organisation”. Although the declaration of the state of emergency and the Egyptian government’s pledge to end militancy, the activities of the Islamic State have started to turn its sights on targets outside its base in Sinai to reach Cairo and the Delta.

Dayan said he hopes that under Trump more realistic goals will be set for the Israel-Palestinian conflict

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“If we believe that our alliance is not only with the American government but also with the American people, then we have to forge that alliance with all the relevant parts of the American people”, he told the Post. “You cannot neglect half of the population [who didn’t vote for President Donald Trump] and expect the alliance to remain intact”. For this, the consul believes Israel needs to work with both sides of the aisle in Washington and both sides of what he calls the “virtual aisle” in American public opinion. “It has no basis” stated Dayan, who admits he didn’t expect Trump to win. “Israel’s strategy is to be as friendly as we can with any administration, as long as that administration wants to be friendly with Israel”. In the previous administration, when the first step of the president was to go to Cairo and skip Jerusalem, that hindered the sense of friendship, but fortunately with this administration it’s different,” he said.Dayan said he hopes that under Trump more realistic goals will be set for the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “I hope that the targets that the administration will set are those that are doable, because we need to advance, but with things that are realistic”, he said. “Unfortunately, when I see the declarations by the Palestinian leadership, I don’t see a serious will to reach an agreement”.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister and his Egyptian counterpart meet to contain a muffled crisis between the two countries

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Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shukry will meet in Khartoum in the first half of April in an attempt to contain a muffled crisis between the two countries. Indeed, Tensions between Khartoum and Cairo have escalated following the former’s decision to restrict imports of Egyptian farming products which was reciprocated by Cairo’s decision to raise residency fees for Sudanese living in Egypt. But both countries have expressed their wishes to strengthen their cooperation and overpass this misunderstanding.

The Arab League, the European Union, the African Union, and the United Nations renewed their commitment to the Libyan stability

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The Arab League, the European Union, the African Union, and the United Nations renewed their commitment to the Libyan stability, sovereignty, integrity, and the unity of institutions emanating from the Libyan Political Agreement (PA) that signed in Skhirat, confirming the need for peaceful settlement to the Libyan crisis, refusing intimidation or use of military power, and the foreign intervention. The quadrilateral meeting has expressed its oppositions to recent violences in the Oil crescent, and told its preoccupation about recent violences in Tripoli. But it had recalled the necessity to overpass these conflicts to reach peace. The role of regional partners had been underlined, and EU has promised an economical help plan of E120 millions to deal about immigration.

More freedom for the press in Egypt

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In the past week, the parliament launched a campaign against two renowned press and media workers. First, parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal slammed Egypt’s long-established Al-Ahram institution, sparking angry reactions from its chairperson and journalists. Second, Abdul Aal brought famous journalist Ibrahim Eissa to be investigated by the prosecution. In despite of constitutional guarantee and press freedom, journalists in Egypt are still under threats when they cover some topics. The Press Syndicate leader, YehiaQallash told the journal that she believes in the enforcement of Press freedom, passing by the law, with a regulation of this liberty. So, they try to maintain good relation with the Cairo, to obtain, by negociation, more freedom for the press in Egypt, or at least to apply constitutional guarantee and press freedom previous in the law.

LNA said to have 5,000 troops at Brega, in preparation for a second counterattack on the RasLanuf and Sidra

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The Libyan National Army is said to have massed 5,000 troops with tanks and artillery in the  Brega area in preparation for a second counterattack on the RasLanuf and Sidra export terminals lost to Benghazi Defence Brigades-led forces on Friday and Saturday. There are reports that armed forces commander-in-chief KhalifaHafter made a brief visit to Cairo today. It is not known whom he met. Air force commander SaqrGeroushi who is believed to have suffered a heart attack  yesterday is understood to have been flown to Cairo for treatment. The concentration of LNA units came as the air force continued air strikes against BDB positions in and around  RasLanuf and Sidra. Meanwhile eight solders are reported to have been killed in a battle at Al-Uqaylah, the small town to which the LNA retreated after being pushed out of the two oil ports.  Casualties among the BDB and their supporting forces are not known.  LNA spokesmen Colonel Ahmed Mismari maintained that casualties had been high and that the BDB had been commandeering ambulances to ferry their dead and wounded away to the west. Despite or perhaps because of the urgent call on men and equipment to the west, LNA commanders appeared to have stepped up their operation to take the last parts of the 12 Apartment complex in Ganfouda, a battle which has now lasted over five weeks.  It is claimed that an ammunition store was discovered today in one of the buildings.  At the same time there has been shelling of Sabri, the downtown Benghazi  militant stronghold which was also strafed by at least one helicopter gunship. UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler has  today warned that the escalating battle in the Oil Crescent could ignite a wider conflict.

US Secretary of State promises Egypt FM more aid for Cairo's counter-terrorism efforts

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised more aid for Cairo’s counter-terrorism efforts and economic development plan during a meeting with Egyptian counterpart SamehShoukry in Washington on Monday, adding that the Washington considers Cairo a real partner in the Middle East. The two officials stressed during their meeting the special and strategic ties that have binded the two countries for decades, vowing more cooperation on all levels. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Shoukry updated his US counterpart on the latest economic and security developments in Egypt, as well as the country’s counter-terrorism efforts. The two ministers also discussed a range of regional issues, including the Syrian crisis, where Shoukry stressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the conflict in a way that preserves the country’s territorial integrity and national institutions and achieves the hopes of the Syrian people. Shoukry also spoke with Tillerson about Egypt’s political efforts to end the crisis in Libya in accordance with the UN-brokered Skhirat agreement of 2015. On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Egyptian FM stressed the necessity of establishing a Palestinian state, pointing to Cairo’s efforts to return both sides to the negotiating table.
Shoukry will also discuss with US officials preparations for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s upcoming visit to the US to meet with President Donald Trump, which will be the first meeting between an Egyptian and US president in years. The last official meeting in Washington of the countries’ two leaders was between former presidents Hosni Mubarak and George W. Bush in 2004.

Egypt: bomb attacks, at least 30 injured

At least 30 injured, 6 of which were policemen, after that Egyptian security building and a courthouse were hit by three car bombs in Cairo at 2:00: “A man suddenly stopped his car in front of the state security building, jumped out of it and fled on a motorbike that followed the car,” Ministry of Internal Affairs explained.

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But responsability could not be jihadist. In fact, Black Bloc group claim attempt: “We announce our full and complete responsibility for the explosions which occurred a few hours ago, “ they said on Facebook. They also explained that this action is the answer to several imprisonment people because of their political crimes.

After anti-terrorism laws wanted by al Sisi three days ago, this attempt is an obvious reply to Egyptian government. Especially because it should the first violent attack anti-islamist in this country if claim of responsability were proved.
Giacomo Pratali

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Egypt, Sinai: 70 soldiers killed by Isis

Attacked the army checkpoint. At least 30 militants were killed. Jihadist troops and vehicle-bomb used in the attempt. Cairo declares the state of war. The terrorist action has taken place a few days after the Egypt’s top public prosecutor killing.

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70 soldiers and at least 30 jihadists dead after Islamic State militants wave of attack on the army in North Sinai today. Terrorists and vehicle bombs have launched a simultaneos charge against security forces’ check point. While Egyptian government has reacted bombing Islamists. The offensive is conducted by the State of Sinai, affiliated to Isis since November 2014.

Prime Minister Mahlab has declared “the state of war”, but it’s not the first terrorist attack in Sinai. But this time jihadists have honed their technique. While Egyptian security forces have remained still and they have not taken enough countermeasures in recent months. Moreover, this attempts were predictable after Egypt’s top public prosecutor killing a few days ago.

The elimination of the Al Sisi’s enemies , starting with the deposed president Morsi, has sparked a war on several fronts inside Egypt.From Cairo, where terrorist cells are operating, to Sinai, historically unstable, where troops of the State of Sinai put on a military organization and strategy inspired by the Mujahideen: communications interruptions, combined attacks, explosions of vehicle bombs. In front of this context, Israel has decided to close the borders.
Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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