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Egypt mosque attack death toll climbs above 300


The balance of the victims of a bomb and an armed attack on a Sufi mosque in northern Sinai has risen to 305, with 27 children among the dead, the Egyptian state prosecutor said on Saturday. More 128 people were injured, according to a public prosecutor’s statement read on the Egyptian Nile TV TV channel. Between 25 and 30 armed men carried out the assault on the mosque at Bir al-Abed’s Rawdah Sufi, the statement said. The prosecutor has also provided more details on how the brutal attack took place. The attackers arrived in five SUVs and armed with automatic machine guns, according to the statement. They took their position in front of the mosque and its entrances. The assailants had long beards and hair, they were wearing military suits and armed with heavy machine guns, according to the statement. At least one of those who entered the mosque carried an ISIS flag, he said.


At least 235 worshippers killed in terror attack on mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai


The statement of the prosecutor-general’s office said that 235 people had been killed and 109 injured in the attack on Al-Rawdah mosque in North Sinai, where hundreds of people had gathered for traditional Islamic prayers on Friday afternoon. The state TV  has reported that there will be a nationwide three-day mourning. Some witnesses in Bir al-Abed, near Arish city,  told Ahram Online that terrorists detonated explosives inside a Sinai mosque and then killed the worshippers in a hail of gunfire. The gunmen escaped before Egyptian army could arrive. The suspicion fell on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (Isil) affiliate in the Sinai desert. The massacre is the worst terrorist attack on civilians in modern Egyptian history. The president El-Sisi said that Egypt will use “brutal force” against the attackers and he is set a meeting with a security committee to discuss about the attack.

Egyptian FM discusses counter-terrorism efforts with US coalition envoy in Cairo


Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks with Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, in Cairo on Wednesday, to discuss US-Egyptian coordination on counter-terrorism.Shoukry and McGurk discussed efforts to defeat Daesh in Iraq, the post-defeat phase and how authorities can continue to hold ground. The two officials also discussed the fight against terrorism and Daesh militants in Syria. Shoukry emphasised the importance of “battling all terrorist organisations and boosting cooperation between members of the US-led coalition to curb activities related to the financing and backing of terrorism”, warning against an incomplete defeat of terrorist groups. The pair also discussed means to bolster US-Egyptian cooperation. Egypt is the current representative of Arab countries on the Security Council and is also the current chair of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee at the council.

Germany keen on continued cooperation with Egypt: Merkel tells Sisi


Germany is keen on continuing to boost economic relations with Egypt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in a phone call on Wednesday, according to statement by the presidency. El-Sisi congratulated Merkel for winning her fourth term as Chancellor in September.Merkel stressed the importance of continued coordination and intensive dialogue between the two countries on a number of regional issues. The two leaders also discussed strengthening relations and keeping an open line of communication on issues that would contribute to achieving security and stability in the Middle East. Germany and Egypt have been boosting economic and political ties over the past few years, with Egypt repeatedly stressing its appreciation for Germany’s support on economic and security issues, including irregular migration.In 2015, German company Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.05 billion) deal with Egypt to build gas and wind power plants in the country.

Agreement on Russian industrial zone in Port Said to be finalised within months: Egyptian official


Head of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Mohab Mamish said in a statement on Wednesday that negotiations between Egypt and Russia on $7 billion worth of Russian investment in an industrial zone in the East Port Said region have been successful, with a final agreement set be finalised within coming months. Mamish said that the negotiations were held in the presence of Russia’s deputy minister of trade and industry Georgy Kalamanov, who is currently on a visit to Egypt. The Russian zone for logistics industries, which is set to cover five square kilometres, will employ 35,000 people both directly and indirectly, with a 90 percent Egyptian workforce. Discussions with Russia on the details of the agreement started in 2014.Over the past two years, Egypt has been seeking foreign investment for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which is expected to include an international logistics hub and areas for light, medium and heavy industry, as well as commercial and residential developments.

Egypt found by UN


In an investigation led by the United Nations, it was discovered that North Korea and Egypt had struck a secret weapons deal worth 23 million dollar. The UN investigators revealed that Egypt had ordered 30,000 weapons from North Korea. UN officials and Western diplomats revealed that as part of the deal, Egyptian business executives ordered millions of dollars worth of rockets from North Korea for their country’s military. According to reports, business executives planned to keep the transaction hidden. The investigation also found that its cargo was hidden by large, heavy tarps. The ship entered Egyptian waters, customs agents boarded and discovered a stockpile of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades concealed underneath bins of iron ore. In a statement quoted in the Washington Post, the UN said it was the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Egypt will “continue to abide by all Security Council resolutions and will always be in conformity with these resolutions as they restrain military purchases from North Korea”.

Egyptian FM stresses need for political solution to Yemeni crisis in meeting with his Yemeni counterpart in Cairo


Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry held a meeting with his Yemeni counterpart Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi in Cairo on Monday, in which both discussed bilateral relations and solutions for Yemeni crisis. Shoukry expressed Egypt’s continuous support to the unity and stability of Yemen, asserting that there is no military solution for the ongoing crisis, instead a comprehensive political settlement is needed. Shoukry has also stressed Egypt’s support for recent efforts made by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh, towards attaining a peace settlement by urging all sides to return to negotiations, and to deal positively in attempying to resolve initiatives. From his side, Al-Mekhlafi tackled different topics in the meeting, including the latest political and security developments in Yemen, as well as the situation of Yemenis living in Egypt. The Yemeni minister has also praised Egypt’s role in supporting Yemen on various occasions in the international arena.During the UN general assembly in September, Shoukry addressed the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen with the United Nations and the International Crisis Group (ICG) top officials, highlighting the need to boost aid efforts for the Yemeni people, who are facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

Hassm claims responsibility of alleged Myanmar Embassy bombing in Cairo


The militant group Hassm claimed responsibility on Sunday for an alleged attack on the Myanmar Embassy in Cairo on Saturday night. “The bombing is a warning message to the embassy of slaughterers which kills women and children in Muslim Arakan [the Rakhine State]. [The bombing] is in support of the people of this weak Muslim nation”, the statement added.An official at the Myanmar Embassy, which is located on the island of Zamalek where there are several other embassies and a heavy security presence, denied Hassm’s claim in comments to Mada Masr, saying that there had not been an attack on the embassy on Saturday. “The embassy is operating normally, and I am talking to you from inside the embassy. They are liars”, the official said.A loud explosion was reportedly heard in Zamalek on Saturday night. According to a security source cited in the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper, a gas pipe had exploded in an abandoned apartment building in the area.Hassm has carried out a number of armed attacks against police and military personnel in recent years.

State keen to promote human rights in parallel with counter-terrorism efforts: Al-Sisi


The State is keen to continue its efforts to promote human rights and guarantee fundamental freedoms, in parallel with the efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his meeting with Mohamed Fayek, the head of the semi-government National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) on Saturday. During the meeting, Al-Sisi discussed Human rights conditions with Fayek, and reviewed annual report prepared by the council over Human Rights condition of year 2016/2017, as well as the challenges hindering comprehensively maintaining human rights concepts.The discussions over human rights included social and economic perspectives and was not limited only on human rights politics. Al-Sisi said that the efforts taken by the State in combating terrorism and protecting national security have positively contributed to strengthen foundations of security and stability, without impacting human rights.In this regard, Fayek said that the report has documented the responsibility of terrorism in killing a number of civilian, members of the armed forces and the police.

Hamas approves prisoner swap deal proposed by Egypt


Hamas has agreed on an exchange of prisoners with Israel, a deal suggested by Egypt two weeks ago. However, the Israeli government has reportedly rejected the prisoner swap. Israeli media quoted an Israeli source describing Senwar’s announcement as “a manoeuvre”.The agreement between Hamas and Egypt over the deal reached Israel through an Israeli official who is charged of negotiations, Ma’an added. Senwar did not reveal the details of the deal, but according to reports by Palestinian newspaper Al-Istiqlal and Israeli newspapers Haaretz and The Times of Israel, it would mean that Israel release 39 bodies of Palestinians who were killed in 2014, including 19 Hamas members, and in return Hamas would give information on the missing Israeli soldiers that the group allegedly holds. The second phase of the deal would be the release of 58 Palestinians who were rearrested in 2014 after they were released in 2011 in a prisoner swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, a group that is known in the Arabic media as “the Shalit captives”. The third and last phase would be the start of negotiations between Hamas and Israel on a further prisone swap, with Egyptian mediation.

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