Egyptian media report that the incident occurred in the Massaeed area just west of the town al-Arish in the northern part of the Sinai desert, sending plumes of smoke high into the air.
Since former President Hosni Mubarak was deposed last year, the pipeline has been sabotaged a dozen previous times, apparently to protest Egypt’s trade and economic ties with Israel.
BBC reported that almost half of Egyptian gas is exported to Israel, much to the consternation of many anti-Israeli elements in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation. During the Mubarak regime, Cairo signed a 20-year contract to provide gas to the Israelis – Reuters noted that some critics of the deal claim the Jewish state received excessively favorable terms in the agreement.
read more at www.ibtimes.com
Seventeen foreign democracy activists, including Americans, at the centre of a row between Egypt and the US, have left Cairo after a travel ban was lifted.
They flew out on a US military plane which was reportedly heading to Cyprus.
The activists – who worked at non-governmental organisations – were on trial for allegedly receiving illegal foreign funding and stirring up unrest.
The case – which is continuing – caused a major rift, risking $1.3bn (£813m) in US aid to Egypt.
The foreign defendants are American, Palestinian, Norwegian, Serbian and German. They could still be tried and convicted in absentia.
In all, 43 activists were accused, including a number of Egyptian nationals who still face legal proceedings.
read more at www.bbc.co.uk
- Judges in Egypt’s NGO trial pull out (insanityreport.wordpress.com)
Saudi FM says Riyadh has already paid $500 million of its total commitment into Cairo’s Central Bank, is waiting for Egypt’s approval of memorandum of understanding to deliver second tranche of $1.45 billion.
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that it would honour a pledge of $3.75 billion in aid to Egypt, after complaints by the Egyptian premier that donor countries were failing to respect their commitments.
“The kingdom pledged to support Egypt in meeting the challenges facing its economy through a series of financial commitments totalling $3.75 billion,” Prince Saud al-Faisal was quoted as saying by the official SPA news agency.
Responding to remarks by Prime Minister Kamal Ganzuri on donor states’ failure to honour their pledges to support Egypt’s ailing economy, Faisal said Riyadh had already paid $500 million of its total commitment into Cairo’s Central Bank in May last year when the aid was promised.
A second tranche of $1.45 billion, to finance a number of projects by the Saudi Development Fund, was the subject of a memorandum of understanding still awaiting the go-ahead from Egypt, he added.
The rest of the Saudi aid, including another transfer to the Central Bank and the purchase of treasury bonds, had also been held up by the Egyptian government, Faisal said.
Saudi Arabia has, in addition, supplied Egypt with 48,000 tons of liquefied gas and “will not hesitate to stand beside its Egyptian brothers,” he added.
Lead judge says court felt “uneasiness” as Washington exerts pressure on Cairo over case involving 16 US citizens.
All three judges in Egypt’s trial of 43 NGO workers have pulled out of the case, according to a court official.
The defendants, including 16 US citizens, are charged with using illegal foreign funds to foment unrest that has roiled Egypt over the past year.
The non-governmental organisations flatly deny the charges, and US officials have hinted foreign aid to Egypt could be in jeopardy because of the case.
Mohammed Shoukry, the lead judge in the case, said on Tuesday that “the court felt uneasiness” in handling the case, according to a court official. He did not elaborate.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said new judges would be assigned to the case.
The trial has so far only made it as far as its opening session, and would need to be restarted with a new panel of judges.
Combined with indications that the two countries are trying to find an acceptable resolution to the crisis, there is speculation that the case could be dropped.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, told two senate panels on Tuesday that the US and Egypt, which has long been
An Egyptian court adjourned the trial of dozens of democracy activists including 16 Americans on Sunday at the opening session of a case that has threatened ties between Cairo and Washington and $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.
Forty-three foreign and Egyptian non-profit workers – including the son of the U.S. transportation secretary – are accused of receiving illegal funds from abroad and carrying out political activities unrelated to their civil society work.
Judge Mahmud Mohamed Shukry adjourned the trial until April 26 at the end of the session in the rowdy chamber, where television reporters crowded around him and an interior ministry official threatened to expel journalists.
His decision could give more time for a diplomatic solution to the case, lawyers said.
The North Cairo Criminal Court Sunday starts the trial of 43 pro-democracy activists, including around 20 American citizens, from mostly US civil society groups on the alleged charges of working illegally in Egypt, judicial sources said Saturday.
The sources said that the 43 accused persons, including Egyptians, Americans, Germans, Palestinians, Norwegians and Serbs, were to appear at the court to face the charges of working in the country without proper legal registration, receiving illicit foreign funding, interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs and carrying out political activities unrelated to their civil society work.
The suspects denied these charges, which could lead to prison sentences of five years, they said.
By Aya Batrawy
CAIRO: One of Egypt’s top presidential hopefuls demanded police protection Friday after masked men stopped his car on the way back from a campaign event, beat him with the butt of an automatic rifle and stole his vehicle – an attack that many of his supporters fear may have been deliberate.
A lawmaker from the country’s most powerful political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, also was wounded in a hit-and-run Friday.
The two incidents demonstrate the disintegration of security in the country in the wake of the uprising a year ago that toppled Hosni Mubarak. As the country prepares for presidential elections expected to be held by the end of June, they also raise the spectre of politically-motivated violence as the campaign heats up.
Masked gunmen attacked Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh late Thursday as he was returning to Cairo from a campaign event north of the capital, said campaign spokesman Ali Bahnasawy. Abolfotoh is a former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood who is running independently for president.
read more at
Suzanne Mubarak to Obama: Prevent the transfer of my husband to a prison hospital or I’ll disclose the identities of U.S. agents.
By Elad Benari
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s wife, Suzanne Mubarak, has sent U.S. President Barack Obama a threat that if he does not prevent the transfer of her husband to a prison hospital, she will disclose the identities of U.S. agents operating in Egypt.
The report on Suzanne Mubarak’s threat was posted on Monday to the website of the independent Israeli newspaper Megaphone. It quoted a report in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Mukhtasar.
According to the report, Suzanne Mubarak made it clear that she is very familiar with the identities and roles of American agents who operate in Egypt, due to her closeness to the Egyptian security elite. She reportedly threatened Obama that if he does not work against the current regime’s intention to transfer her husband she will reveal the information she knows.
read more at www.israelnationalnews.com
By Rachel Hirshfeld
Egyptian Presidential Candidate Tawfiq Okasha declared last week that the Egyptian Army will engage in armed warfare against Israel, the United States and the European Union within three months.
The declaration, made in a segment translated into English by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on February 9, Okasha slso said that “like the Nazis, the Jews aim to rule and own the world.”
He then went on to say that Israel, America and the European Union are planning to destroy three institutions in Egypt with “exceptional malice,” namely the Egyptian general intelligence agency, the Egyptian armed forces, and the Egyptian military intelligence.
He then declared, “as of today, the war effort of the people has begun. This is essential, a war effort!”
“This is a fierce and bitter battle which began without any shooting, but will end with shooting. I say this here and now, the Egyptian army will open fire on the armies of the enemies,” he proclaimed.
When asked exactly when an armed war would begin, he replied, “within three months.”
read more at www.israelnationalnews.com
- Egyptian Official: War with Israel, US in Three Months (iamiranaware.wordpress.com)
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Egypt has agreed to help ease Gaza’s chronic power shortages as part of a three-stage plan that would eventually hook up the isolated territory to the regional grid, a Palestinian energy official said Monday.
Such a deal would represent a major leap in Cairo’s involvement in Hamas-ruled Gaza, and another step away from Egyptian cooperation with the Israeli blockade imposed after the militant group’s 2007 takeover.
Gaza has suffered frequent blackouts and fuel shortages since the blockade was imposed. Rolling power cuts intensified last week when Gaza’s only power plant shut down because of a growing shortage in black market fuel reaching the territory through underground tunnels.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had sided with Israel in enforcing the Gaza blockade, trying to isolate the Islamists on his doorstep. However, since taking over last year, Egypt’s new rulers have eased Gaza’s isolation.
The Gaza energy deal, outlined by Palestinian officials on Monday, was struck between Egypt and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, a longtime Hamas rival. An Egyptian intelligence official said Hamas was also involved in the contacts.
read more at www.khaleejtimes.com