Gunman Kills Christians In Liquor Store In Egypt

Judicial and security sources have revealed that a gunman killed two Copts celebrating the New Year in an Egyptian alcohol shop early on Monday.

This is said to be the latest deadly violence against the Christian minority. The shooting came just three days after a gunman, identified as a wanted jihadist, killed nine people in an attack on a church south of the capital.


According to reports, the assailant rode up in the back of a motorcycle taxi and opened fire on the liquor store in Cairo’s twin city Giza at around 1:30 am (2330 GMT Sunday), when the streets were still bustling with New Year revelers.

The store’s Coptic owner survived but two of his friends who were celebrating with him were killed.

Police are still investigating the motive of the attack, the sources said.

Alcohol consumption is forbidden by Islam and liquor stores, most of which are run by Copts, have come under attack in the past by hardline Muslims who believe they should be banned.


UAE Deports Shafiq Egyptian Presidential Hopeful

Ahmed Shafiq, former vice-president of Egypt and a presidential hopeful in next year’s election has been deported by UAE, back to Egypt.

Shafiq had been living in the Gulf country, along with his family, since 2012. He served under Hosni Mubarak.

His deportation came after he announced his candidacy in upcoming elections and that he was being prevented from leaving the country.

His Emirati hosts were said to have been angered by the remark, according to the AFP

Shafiq landed in Cairo airport on Saturday evening and quickly left to an unknown destination, an airport official said.

The UAE state news agency WAM had reported that Shafiq left the country for Egypt, while his family stayed behind, but did not mention that he had been deported.

Shafiq, a former army general appointed as prime minister by Hosni Mubarak, had narrowly lost an election to Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2012, a year after Mubarak’s overthrow.

He was placed on trial after the polls on corruption charges and acquitted, and one of Shafiq’s lawyers said last year that he was free to return to Egypt.

One aide said she witnessed officials arriving at his Abu Dhabi house and was told that Shafiq, seen as a main challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, would be deported to Egypt on a private plane.

“They took him from the house and put him on a private plane. They said he would go back to Cairo, because they can deport him only to his home country,” she said.

Another aide confirmed to AFP that he would be deported to Cairo, and his lawyer Dina Adly wrote on Facebook that Shafiq had been “arrested” to be sent home.

An aide had previously said Shafiq would leave the UAE over the weekend for France and other European countries before returning to Egypt.

After he announced his candidacy on Wednesday, pro-government media and some officials assailed Shafiq, who is seen as the only challenger to Sisi with even a remote chance of winning a large number of votes.

Another tentative candidate, leftist Khaled Ali, is facing legal troubles that may prevent him from registering, while a hitherto unknown army colonel has also announced his candidacy.

Sisi, a former army chief who toppled Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist, won an election in 2014.

He is certain to run in next year’s election, although he has not formally announced his candidacy yet.

The authorities under Sisi had launched a bloody crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group that extended to secular and non-Islamist dissidents as well.

Sisi has undertaken tough economic reforms that saw the Egyptian pound lose more than half its value while inflation sky rocketed, supported by an IMF $12 billion loan.

Yet he remains popular with many Egyptians who, wearied by years of tumult that decimated tourism and foreign investment, say the country needs a firm leader.

Egypt is also battling a deadly Islamic State group insurgency that the army has struggled to put out.

Last month, suspected Islamic State group gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers in a Sinai peninsula mosque, provoking outrage in Egypt but also questions on why the Sufi-associated mosque had been unguarded after receiving threats from the IS extremists.

Egyptian UN Peacekeeper Killed

Christian militias have been suspected by the UN for being behind the murder of an Egyptian UN peacekeeper which also left three others wounded in an attack in southern Central African Republic, CAR.

The UN said in a statement that the attack, which was carried out by anti-balaka militants, occurred in Gambo, about 100 km (60 miles) from the town of Bangassou where more than 100 civilians and three Moroccan peacekeepers were killed in separate incidents in May and July.

Conflict has killed thousands in CAR since Muslim Seleka rebels ousted President Francois Bozize in 2013, provoking a backlash from the Christian anti-balaka militia.

Violence spiked when former colonial power France ended its peacekeeping mission in 2016.

Since then, the UN’ 13,000-strong CAR mission, has struggled to restore order to a country where government control barely extends beyond the capital Bangui.

In total, 13 UN peacekeepers have been killed in the country this year alone. The UN said five militants were also killed during Sunday’s clash.


Egypt Attack Blamed On ISIS, More Deaths Recorded

Egypt has blamed ISIS fighters for the attack carried out during Friday prayers at a mosque in the country’s Sinai Peninsula.

The Egyptian government placed the blame on the group citing eyewitnesses who saw the attackers carrying ISIS flags.

Sadeq also said that the death toll has witnessed a dramatic increase from the previously announced 235 fatalities to 305 worshipers, including 27 children, while another 128 were injured.

He also said that the attack was carried out by 25-30 militants who arrived at the mosque in five all-terrain vehicles and destroying seven cars parked outside belonging to the worshipers.

Worshipers told Sadeq’s office that some of the attackers wore masks, but all wore military-like uniforms.

One of the survivors of the attack said that some of the inscription on the ISIS flags read, “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God”.

An eyewitness described the perpetrators as having stationed themselves at the mosque’s three exits and deliberately attacking people who tried to escape the building, as well as passing vehicles, after first shooting some who were “kneeling in prayer.”

“The sight was horrific,” the witness, Ibrahim Shetewy, told ABC News in Arabic, adding, “We carried whomever we found alive and took them in pickups and private cars until more ambulances could come and help.”

Shetewy described the mosque in question as one frequented by travellers on their way in and out of the area. He said the building is “huge” and was lined with bodies and a large quantity of shell casings following the attack.

“There was a woman waiting outside for her husband and young child to finish praying; she came inside and found them dead next to each other,” Shetewy said.

He added that people are lined up at a local hospital to donate blood.

Since the attack, the Egyptian military has carried out multiple airstrikes on bases it says are used by ISIS militants in the restive North Sinai region.

Update: Death Toll In Egypt Rises To 235

Death toll in Egypt’s bomb and gun attack in a mosque in North Sinai Province has risen to 235.

It is said to be the deadliest attack of its kind since an Islamist insurgency in the peninsula was stepped up in 2013.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has held emergency talks with security officials to decide how to respond.

Local police said gunmen arrived in four off-road vehicles before opening fire on worshippers.

Pictures from the scene show rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque. At least 130 people were wounded.

Locals are also quoted as saying that followers of Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, regularly gathered at the mosque.

Some jihadist groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS), see Sufis as heretics.


Tragedy Hits Egypt As 155 Deaths Recorded

Over a hundred have been left injured while at least 155 injured after a massive suspected suicide attack on a Mosque in the Egyptian province of Sinai.

It is believed the incident was both a gun and bomb attack as many were attending the mosque for Friday prayer in al-Rawda near al-Arish.

State media have reported that more than 155 people have died and more than 100 people have injured.

Eyewitnesses have said that, after the blast, survivors were shot by gunmen as they tried to run from the area.

They also claimed the reason the mosque was targeted was to attack those who support security forces.

According to AP local police said there were four gunmen who travelled in four off-road vehicles.

Ambulances have been seen at the scene taking those affected to hospital.

Some reports claim those who conducted the attack have now fled to the desert.


African Leaders Urged to Unite, Tackle Continent’s Challenges

African leaders have been called upon to unite and tackle the challenges facing the continent for social-economic development.

The Media Training Supervisor, Mrs.Omyma Elsayed, made the call in Egypt, during the forty-Two graduation ceremony of the African Media Training course, organised by the Supreme Council of Media Regulation.

Mrs. Elsayed added that, Africa has enough resources to compete with other continents in the world when effectively utilized.

Mrs. Omyma Elsayed, also urged the participants to use the experiences acquired during the training in their various countries, for the benefits and unity of the African continent.

“The main reason of this training is to bring all Africans together to make Africa strong continent and to be a one unit, just like Europe, America, you participants of the training you know Egypt now we are trying to help you not for yourselves but for Africa,” she said.

The President, Egyptian Supreme Council of Media Regulation, Dr. Makram Muhammad, who spoke in Arabic, challenged the participants to domesticate the knowledge acquired in their respective countries for the overall development of the continent.

Miss. Dibuseng Meloe, from South Africa, who spoke on behalf of the participants expressed their delights and intention about the training.

“Thanks to Egyptian government and the organizers of this training, the training sessions were educative and informative, experts from different media fields conducted our classes, the programmers and technicians enjoyed both theoretical and practical sessions. This training would go a long way in enhancing our performances in our various stations as well as improve the media performance in Africa,” she said.

Thirty-one participants from thirteen African countries including Nigeria partook in the media training in Egypt, which was established in 1977.


D’Tigress Through To Afrobasket Quarter-Final

The Nigerian national women basketball team, D’Tigress, secured a third win at the ongoing 2017 FIBA AfroBasket in Bamako, Mali after defeating Egypt 106-72 points on Sunday.

The 2003 and 2005 champions who had begun their title chase with a 80-69 points victory over Mozambique on Friday, grabbed another win on Saturday defeating the Republic of Congo 84-47 points.

Nigeria have thus qualified for the quarterfinals of the tournament.

At the game on Sunday, the first quarter ended with 20-15 points in Nigeria’s favour. They went on to grab 30-14 points against the Egyptians in the second quarters, as the first half ended with 50-29 points.

In the third quarter, the Egyptians battled but only managed to trail 29-20 points and also fell short in the last quarter with 27-23 points, as the D’Tigress showed complete dominance in the game.

D’Tigress will now continue their chase for a ticket to the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup as they hope to advance through the quarters, semis and land in the final.

The two finalists in the AfroBasket tournament will represent the continent at the World Cup in Spain.

Nigeria are firmly on top of Group B with six points but still have to play against Guinea and reigning champions Senegal.

EU, Egypt Hold First Council Meeting In 7 years

The European Union and Egypt are meeting for the first time since 2010 on Tuesday within the framework of the so-called association council.

The last of such meeting took place in April 2010, before the Egyptian uprising.

The meeting will be co-chaired by the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry.

Both sides are expected to endorse shared priorities and cooperation in areas such as economic reforms, good governance, the rule of law and human rights, as well as migration, security and regional cooperation.

In the run up to the meeting, several rights organisations called on Mogherini to refrain from holding the meeting, due to a deterioration of human rights in Egypt.

“The EU needs to put itself squarely on the side of Egyptians who courageously stand for basic rights when meeting with a government known for mass killings rather than respect for those rights,” Lotte Leicht, the Brussels Director at Human Rights Watch, said.

Pope Francis Visits Egypt as ‘Messenger of Peace’

Pope Francis is in Egypt on a visit aimed at improving Christian-Muslim dialogue, three weeks after bombings at two Coptic churches killed 45 people. As he arrived in Cairo he said his trip would be a “journey of unity and fraternity”, AFP news agency reports.

He will meet the Egyptian president and speak at al-Azhar University, a key centre of Sunni Islamic learning. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the Palm Sunday bombings.

The 80-year-old pontiff said before the visit that he was travelling as a “messenger of peace” and, as usual, would not use an armoured car. The two-day visit is the first papal trip to Cairo in 20 years and comes as Egypt’s Coptic Christians – who make up 10% of the country’s mainly Muslim population – face increased threats. The majority of the Copts are Orthodox, with less than 150,000 of them Catholic.

‘If things stay like this… we would be better off dead’
IS says it also sent a bomber who killed 28 people at Egypt’s main cathedral before Christmas. The group’s Egyptian branch says Christians are its “favourite prey”. Hundreds of Egyptian Christians fled northern Sinai earlier this year in the wake of at least seven killings by suspected Islamist militants.
‘Brotherhood and reconciliation’

As well as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Pope is due to meet Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of the 1,000-year-old seat of Islamic learning, al-Azhar.

He is expected to address a conference there on religious dialogue, as part of efforts to improve relations, after Egyptian Muslim leaders cut ties over comments made by Pope Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.

Coptic Christians make up about 10% of Egypt’s population

The pontiff will also meet the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, and walk with him to St Mark’s Cathedral, the scene of the December bombing. In a message ahead of the trip, Francis said he wanted the visit to be “a witness of my affection, comfort and encouragement for all the Christians of the Middle East” and “a message of brotherhood and reconciliation with all the children of Abraham, particularly the Muslim world”.
In a surprise TED talk earlier this week, delivered in a video, he lauded the values of humility, tenderness and hope, amid the “darkness of today’s conflicts”.

A three-month state of emergency is in place in the wake of the Palm Sunday bombings, and security has been boosted around churches.
But many Copts say the government should have done more earlier to protect them, and say they are also under pressure from sectarian tensions and long-standing discrimination.

BBC Africa

Egypt’s President Ask Residents to ‘Bear The Pain’

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and created a powerful new anti-terrorism body after Palm Sunday church bombings claimed by Islamic State left at least 43 dead.

Sunday’s declarations suggested a tougher approach to come against militants whose simmering war with the government has strained efforts to stabilize the country and revive an economy battered by years of unrest. Even before the new measures, Egypt’s onslaught against Islamists and other dissidents has been criticized by Western governments and human rights groups.

The attacks earlier in the day were the deadliest strike on the country’s Christian minority since El-Sisi was elected in 2014. They also reflected the potential for a troubling expansion of the militants’ theater of operations, at a time when Egyptians’ patience with reforms is being tested by soaring prices linked to the November decision to float the currency.

“I ask Egyptians to bear the pain,” El-Sisi said in a televised speech after the attacks.

At least 27 people were killed and more than 70 wounded in the first blast in the Nile Delta city of Tanta. A second explosion in a Coptic cathedral in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria left at least 16 others dead, officials said.

Trump Offers Support

The bombings came less than a week after El-Sisi met President Donald Trump at the White House, where he was praised for his efforts to fight terrorism. Trump tweeted on Sunday that he’s “sad to hear about the terrorist attack in Egypt” and has “great confidence that President Al Sisi will handle the situation properly.” He later spoke with the Egyptian leader by phone to express his condolences and offer support, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

By targeting two major cities outside its base in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Islamic State showed it’s “still able to operate — despite this growing pressure — and to embarrass the Egyptian government after Sisi’s visit to Washington” and before Pope Francis’ visit this month, said Michael Horowitz, director of intelligence at the political risk consultancy Prime Source.

In a televised address, the Egyptian leader said the state of emergency would go into effect after necessary constitutional measures were taken — largely a formality after he’d earlier ordered the military to deploy nationwide to help secure vital institutions and infrastructure.