UPDATE: Egypt’s politics digest Oct. 8: U.S., Egypt expresses ‘annoyance’ with U.S. embassy over threat warning
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid. YOUM7 (archive)
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CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top politics news stories on Oct. 8 here:

Egypt expresses ‘annoyance’ with U.S. embassy over threat warning

Egypt’s foreign ministry sharply criticized the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for advising citizens to avoid large gatherings in the capital until Sunday, calling the move “unjustifiable”.

The embassy’s message warned against being in public spaces, near diplomatic missions, government buildings, and transport hubs. It cited “potential security concerns” but did not specify what they were.

“The foreign ministry spokesman has conveyed his annoyance at the warning released by the United States embassy in Cairo to Americans,” the ministry said in a statement. “(This) raises questions over the reasons this statement was released in such a way.”

The ministry said it contacted the embassy over the warning and that it was told there were no specific reasons or threats behind the move. The ministry quoted the embassy as telling it that the warning was a routine measure taken every time there is a long weekend and thus more crowding in public areas.

Thursday was a public holiday in Egypt in celebration of Armed Forces Day. The Egyptian weekend is Friday and Saturday.

The foreign ministry said it expressed dismay to the embassy because such “unjustifiable warnings” could have negative effects especially on the economy.

Egypt is battling an Islamist insurgency largely concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula that which gained pace after its military ousted President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The insurgency, mounted by Islamic State’s Egyptian branch Sinai Province, has killed hundreds of soldiers and police and begun to attack Western targets within the country. There have been occasional attacks in Cairo and other cities.

 

Interior min. inspects security measures at Sharm el Sheikkh ahead of parliament’s 150th anniversary celebrations

Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar on Saturday paid an inspection visit to Sharm al Sheikh ahead of celebrations that will be held in the Resort city on Sunday to mark the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the Egyptian parliamentary life, Youm7 reported.

Abdel Ghaffar inspected security measures at Sharm al Sheikh after fitting it with new metal detectors and updates devices to enhance security checks.

The minister also inspected security checkpoints throughout the resort city and met with senior police officers to revise the security plan during the celebrations, which will kick off Sunday.

Sharm al Sheikh will also host the joint session of the Arab Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament, in addition to the Arab Parliament’s first session of 2016-2017 first convention for the second legislative term, scheduled for Oct. 9-11.

President Abdel Fatah al Sisi, 19 heads of parliaments, high profile African and Arab delegations and media figures will be present during the celebrations.

 

Court sets Oct. 22 to examine government appeal against Red Sea islands pact

The High Administrative Court has set October 22 to examine an appeal filed by the State Lawsuits Authority against a recent court ruling, which voided Cairo’s decision to acknowledge Saudi sovereignty over two Red Sea islands, Youm7 reported Saturday.

Last week, the Court for Urgent Matters halted an earlier court ruling that annulled a controversial deal to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, Youm7 reported.

The deal over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which was signed in April, prompted public protests.

In June, the State Council ruled that the islands, strategically situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, must remain under Egyptian sovereignty.

A day later, the State Lawsuits Authority, representing the government, has appealed the agreement-quashing ruling.

The accord was announced during a visit to Cairo by the Saudi king that coincided with the signing of aid agreements, which created the impression among many that the islands were sold. However, Egyptian authorities denied this.

 

U.S., UK, Canada warns citizens to avoid public gatherings in Cairo on Sunday

U.S., UK, and Canadian embassies in Cairo have warned their citizens in Egypt to be cautious and avoid large gatherings and public spaces on Sunday, October 9.

“The U.S. Embassy strongly advises U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings and public spaces such as concert halls, movie theaters, museums, shopping malls, and sports venues in Cairo through Sunday, October 9, due to potential security concerns. U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings and practice good security precautions at all times,” the U.S. embassy warned in a message on Friday.

Meanwhile, UK embassy wrote on its website “We advise avoiding large gatherings and public spaces such as concert halls, movie theaters, museums, shopping malls, and sports venues in Cairo until 9th October.”

The Canadian embassy in Cairo also issued the same advice to its citizen due to “potential security concerns.”

“Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to Egypt due to the unpredictable security situation. This advisory does not apply to the Red Sea coastal resorts of Hurghada (and its surroundings) and Sharm el-Sheikh, nor to the area from Luxor to Aswan along the upper Nile, where you should exercise a high degree of caution,” the advice read.

However, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it disturbed by the security message, saying “the embassy neither coordinated with the foreign ministry nor notified any other Egyptian authority of the reasons for issuing such an alert or the nature of these security concerns.”

“The US embassy denied the presence of any particular reasons or security threats that triggered the alert, emphasizing that such alerts are standard precautionary measures taken during extended holidays that often lead to increasing numbers in public gatherings,” Egyptian Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in the statement on Friday.

 

Court of Cassation resumes re-trial of Morsi over Presidential Palace case

Egypt’s Court of Cassation resumes the re-trial of former President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday over charges of inciting violence outside the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace in 2012, Youm7 reported.

In April, a Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison; Two of his co-defendants were sentenced to 10-year terms while the other 12 defendants, including former vice president of Freedom and Justice Party (MB’s political wing) Essam el-Erian and Mohamed el-Beltagy , the former party’s secretary in Cairo and Morsi’s aide Ahmed Abdel Aty, were sentenced to 12 years.

The prosecution accused the defendants of inciting violence, killing and torturing protesters and processing firearms and knives.

 

National Security policeman fatally shot by unknown people in Beheira

A policeman of the Egyptian National Security Service was shot dead by unknown people after his day work in Kafr El-Rahmania village of Delta’s Beheira governorate early Saturday, Youm7 reported.

Gamal Ahmed Hassan al-Dib, 48, was sprayed with eight bullets, one of which entered into his head, said a high-profile security official.

According to the initial investigations, two masked men on a motorbike opened fire at al-Dib after he got out of his car outside his house in Mahmoudia Street.  Security forces are on full alert in the governorate to arrest the shooters.

 

Cairo Court hands down death penalty against convict over targeting Christian institution

A Cairo Criminal Court handed down a death sentence against a defendant over charges of forming a terrorist cell that targeted Coptic institutions on Saturday, Youm7 reported.

The Court also sentenced eight co-defendants to 25 years in jail, while 11 others were sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The prosecution has charged the defendants with embracing a takfiri ideology, committing a robbery in jewelry shop in Al-Zaitoun area in Cairo on May 28, 2008, and targeting tourists and Copts.

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