LATEST: Egypt — 9 Foreign Nationals Among Detained Protesters

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Far from looking for political reconciliation — the public line only a week ago, just before hundreds of Egyptians died in violence — the regime reinforced its message of punishment on Monday, taking firm measures against deposed President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Prosecutors formally extended the detention of Morsi for another 15 days, adding new charges such as his alleged involvement in the killing of protesters last December in front of the Presidential Palace.

This morning security forces arrested the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie.

State TV said the raid came “after information came to the security apparatus locating his place of hiding”. Private, pro-military channel ONTV aired footage purporting to show Badie as he was detained.

Claimed footage of Badie after his arrest:

The Brotherhood has named Mahmoud Ezzat as Badie’s interim replacement.

Senior leaders of the Brotherhood, including Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater, are already in prison. They and many members of the group, the leading force behind the Morsi Government, were seized soon after the July 3 coup.

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Egypt: 9 Foreign Nationals Among Detained Protesters

On Tuesday, prosecutors ordered the detention of nine foreign nationals for 15 days, pending investigations into the violence amid anti-regime protests last Friday.

The detainees include four Irish citizens of Egyptian origin — the three daughters and son of Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the Imam of Ireland’s largest mosque in Dublin. Two Syrians and Turkish journalist Metin Turan, a correspondent with Turkey’s State-run TRT network, are also held.

The prosecution is claiming possible involvement by the nationals in fighting at the Azbakiya police station near the protests in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo.

Charges include belonging to a militant group, holding up traffic, possessing firearms, and assaulting policemen, as well as attempted murder and burning of public property.

The nationals said they were passing by the area and sought shelter in Al-Fateh Mosque when the clashes broke out.

Turkey and Lebanon: 2 Kidnapped Pilots Are Alive, Turkish Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said that the two Turkish pilots kidnapped in Lebanon earlier this month are alive and well.

Arınç told reporters, “Their whereabouts are more or less known. We know that they are alive, in peace and comfort… I hope we will reach them soon.”

The two pilots were abducted in an area of Beirut controlled by Hezbollah by a group calling itself Zuwwar Imam al-Rida, which demanded Turkey persuade Syrian rebels to release nine Lebanese kidnapped in Syria in May 2012.

Egypt: Prosecutors Order Arrest of 2 Policemen

Prosecutors have ordered the arrest of two policemen for questioning regarding their role in the deaths of 37 pro-Morsi supporters while being transported to Abu Zabaal prison on the outskirts of Cairo.

Egypt: 11 Suspected Militants Arrested

Eleven suspected militants have been arrested by military forces in North Sinai.

Yesterday, militants killed 25 soldiers in Arish.

Egypt: 100 Tonnes of Medical Aid Arrives From Saudi Arabia

Two planes bringing 100 tons of medical aid from Saudi Arabia arrived at a military airport east of Cairo today.

The aid, of which this is just the first delivery, is intended to set up three field hospitals and support other security facilities.

Egypt: Turkish Journalist’s Detention Extended by 15 Days

Prosecutors have extended the detention of Turkish report Metin Turan by 15 days.

Turan was detained at the weekend while covering a story about Muslim Brotherhood supporters trapped in the Al-Fateh Mosque in Cairo.

The Turkish Embassy has reportedly objected to the extension by the Cairo Prosecutor’s Office.

Egypt: Markets Comparatively Stable

The EGX 30 index has risen by 1.2% today economists announced today as the markets remain reasonably stable despite the country’s severe political crisis.

Today is the first day the market has operated on a normal 4-hour long trading day after it was forced to close last Thursday by the ongoing violence between the military and pro-Morsi supporters.

Egypt: 1 Leading Entrepreneur Killed, 1 Critically Wounded in Past Week’s Fighting

The site Wamda writes that “two of Egypt’s leading lights in technology and entrepreneurship” are among the casualties in recent fighting.

Silminds cofounder Assem El-Gamal and MiMV’s managing director Amr Abd El-Rahman were both shot at the Rabaa El-Adewaya sit-in for deposed President Morsi, stormed by security forces last Wednesday.

El-Gamal was killed and El-Rahman, shot in the head, is in critical condition.

El-Gamal was only one of three or four microchip design managers in Egypt.

Amr Abd ElRahman’s MiMV developed iPhoneIslam and enabled the first iPad to function as a phone.

Israel & Palestine: Senior Official — 2nd Round of Talks on Tuesday

A senior Palestinian official has said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet on Tuesday for their second round of peace talks.

The first round was held last week in Jerusalem, with little revealed publicly.

The Palestinian official, refused to say where today’s discussions are being held.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has brokered the renewed talks and has called for no public comment from either side.

Turkey: PM Erdogan “Israel is Behind Coup in Egypt”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told members of his party at a meeting on Tuesday,
Israel is behind the coup in Egypt, we have evidence.”

Erdoğan cited an unnamed French intellectual, with “Jewish identity”, who supposedly said in 2011 that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood would not be in power even if they were elected because “democracy is not the ballot box”.

The Prime Minister also chided members of Egyptian security forces, “You can’t kill people even if your commanders order something like this which is illegal.”

Tunisia: Ruling and Opposition Party Leaders Meet in Paris

The head of the ruling Ennahdha party, Rached Ghannouchi, met with the leader of the opposition Nidaa Tounes, Beji Caid Essebsi, last Thursday in Paris to discuss the country’s political crisis.

The meeting focused on finding solutions to the crisis and on opposition proposals to form a non-partisan technocratic government headed by a national independent figure.

The Ennahdha party released a statement saying the meeting went “smoothly,” and that “positive” and “frank” discussions were an invitation for political dialogue.

The opposition Nidaa Tounes declared that it maintained its demand for an independent “salvation government,” as advocated by the National Salvation Front opposition coalition and supported by some civil society organizations.

In contrast to Ennahda’s positive appraisal of the meeting, a spokesman for Nidaa Tounes, Lazher Akremi, said “Ghannouchi has said he refuses to negotiate with Nidaa Tounes and apparently he changed his mind… The meeting was a way to break the ice between the two leaders and an invitation to discard old animosity. It can not, in fact, be considered a national meeting because many parts of the equation were simply missing.”

Egypt: Policeman Recalls Attack on Kiedasah Police Station

A police officer who was wounded and presumed dead during an attack on a police station that killed 15 policemen in the small rural village of Kirdasah has spoken of the incident.

Mohammed Abdel-Hamid was the only survivor after supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi attacked the police station in retaliation for the military’s raids against two pro-Morsi camps in Cairo which killed hundreds of people last Wednesday.

Describing the attack, Abdel-Hamid said “The whole town was in the streets protesting and chanting.” The siege went on for six hours until “we ran out of ammunition and we got no reinforcements while the machine-gun and automatic-weapons fire got heavier.”

When he tried to seek refuge in a residential building with three soldiers, Abdel-Hamid says an old man turned them away calling him a “traitor.” They were then dragged across the village to the steps of the mosque and lined up alongside others for beatings.

The police captain recalls men being dragged around by cars, and one policeman being told by his attacker: “We will give you a slow death.”

“I still remember the sounds of the prayers blaring from loudspeakers just behind me, but that didn’t stop the bearded men from finally opening fire on all of us,” Abdel-Hamid said. He slumped beside the bodies, pretending he too was dead, and like the others was covered in a sheet.

He was eventually discovered alive by two men, who sent him to a relative before he was taken to the police hospital.

Egypt: US Officials — Obama Administration Temporarily Halts Aid to Cairo

The office of Senator Patrick Leahy, the chair of a key Appropriatons subcommittee, has said that the Obama Administration has temporarily halted aid to the Egyptian regime.

A Leahy spokesperson said that while the Obama Administration will not publicly acknowledge the suspension or declare that a “coup” overthrew President Morsi on July 3, it is privately acting on this basis.

See also Egypt Analysis: US Foreign Policy & The Difficulties Of “Democracy”

The administration’s public message is that $585 million of promised aid to the Egyptian military is not officially on hold, as technically it is not due until the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

However, two Administration officials privately said it was best to observe the law restricting military aid on a temporary basis, as if there had been a coup designation.

“The decision was we’re going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law, we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now,” said one official. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”

Egypt 1st-Hand: Bodies “Stacked Up in Refrigator Trucks”, 5 Days After Mass Killing

Sara Hussein of AFP offers a vivid scene from a Cairo mosque near the former sit-in for deposed President Morsi, site of the deaths of some of the several hundred Egyptians slain last Wednesday:

On Monday, five days later, the bodies of dozens of those killed in the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp remain at the morgue.

When its brown metal door swings open, they can be seen inside.

But they are also outside, stacked up in two refrigerator trucks, waiting to be collected by relatives, many of whom live in provinces far from Cairo.

In the morgue’s courtyard, incense sticks have been lit and strategically placed in corners in a bid to cover the smell of decay.

But when the doors to the morgue open, a wave of the smell of dead bodies overwhelms their feeble perfumed smoke.

Egypt: 1 Egyptian Journalist Killed, 1 Journalist Injured By Security Forces

Egyptian security forces killed a leading journalist for State newspaper Al-Ahram on Monday night, opening fire on on a car they thought was escaping from a checkpoint enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew

Tamer Abdel Raouf, head of Al-Ahram’s bureau in Egypt’s Buhayra Province, was shot dead while a journalist from another State newspaper, Al Gomhuriya, was injured.

Initial reports last night said both men had been killed.

Journalists are exempt from the curfew, imposed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the next month, but security forces were alarmed when the car with the two reporters made a U-turn to drive away from the checkpoint in the Delta town of Damanhour.