The two Al-Jazeera employees -- identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal -- were sentenced in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after Morsi's ouster. The three other defendants sentenced to death Saturday are documentary producer Ahmed Afify, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohammed Keilany and academic Ahmed Ismail.
"We do not deny there is a possibility of terrorism or deny the possibility of technical fault," Fathi said at a Cairo news conference. "I will continue to use the term missing plane until we find any debris." Later at the same news conference, he indicated that while there were "no known security issues" with passengers aboard the plane, the probability of terrorism downing it is higher than the likelihood of a mechanical cause. "I don't want to go to speculation. I don't want to go to assumptions like others. But if you analyze this situation properly, the possibility of having a different action aboard, of having a terror attack, is higher than having a technical problem," Fathi said.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Fox News that President Barack Obama ignored the advice of his “entire national security team” during the Egyptian coup in 2011 that ousted Hosni Mubarak, the country’s former president.
A Russian passenger plane crashed early Saturday in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people aboard, officials said. Russian state media reported that many of the 217 passengers on Kogalymavia Flight 9268 were Russians returning from vacation. The passenger manifest included 17 children but Russian officials said there were 25 aboard. There were seven crew members. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin tweeted that four victims were Ukrainian nationals. The cause of the crash still is unknown, but it is most likely due to a technical failure, and there is no evidence of any terrorist action, Egyptian Airports Co. chief Adel Al-Mahjoob told CNN Arabic.Early reports indicated that an ISIS-affiliated terrorist group claimed responsibility for the crash on Twitter, but Russian and Egyptian officials dismissed these claims, stating there is no evidence of terrorism, but there are questions about whether or not the pilot indicated any problems prior to the plane breaking apart.
On October 6, 1973 massive Syrian and Egyptian forces launched a surprise attack on the State of Israel. It was the holiest day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement, and Jews all over the country had been fasting and praying since dawn. No one in Israel on that fateful day will ever forget the piercing shriek of sirens which shattered the Yom Kippur silence and called men and women out of their homes and synagogues into uniform.
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in an interview that the Mideast region needs to cooperate to defeat a worsening terrorist threat that has led to a "ferocious war" in Egypt and created the danger of some countries "sliding into failure." In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press Saturday night, el-Sissi also said that Syria should not be divided after its civil war, that the Egyptian military needs to be "augmented" to defeat terrorists fighting in the Sinai and Western Desert, and that efforts should be renewed to solve the Palestinian issue and expand Egypt's nearly 40-year-peace with Israel to include more Arab countries.Egypt's President also indicated that the last two years were a "real test of the endurance and strength" of the ties with this nation. It appears that al_Sisi has a bit more to endure, as he has been given another taste of the Obama Administration's SmartPower™.
While Mr. Obama insists on welcoming the Russian autocrat whom the West has sanctioned for invading his neighbors and repressing his own people, he has refused to meet the president of Egypt, the most populous Arab nation and a traditional American ally that is battling Islamic extremists on two fronts.
An Egyptian journalist conducted an experiment in which he dressed up as a Jew and asked passersby on the streets of Cairo for directions to a nearby synagogue - with nearly serious consequences for his physical safety. The Cairo-based Internet news site DOTMSR sent the journalist to the streets of Cairo dressed in overtly Hassidic garb - sidecurls, skullcap, beard, and a hat. The “Jewish” journalist was then subjected to threats of violence, epithets, slurs, and shoving from hostile locals.... DOTMSR is an Arab-language Internet news site “that broadcasts high-quality news items in Arabic.” It describes itself as a news outlet that “believes in openness, innovation, and an obligation to accepting those who are different.”
Egypt suspended a capital gains tax on Monday, sending shares soaring after a months-long downturn in which investors had complained of a lack of clarity about the new taxes, with some even taking the government to court. Immediately after the announcement, Egypt's EGX 30 index rose 3.3 percent to 8562.07, according to Egypt's official news agency. By late afternoon, shares were up 6.5 percent. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi approved a law nearly a year ago which placed a 10 percent tax on capital gains, fueling a sell-off by investors in an economy already battered by years of political unrest since the 2011 uprising. The law had been part of a broader government effort to broaden the tax base as it pushed through a host of tough measures, including slashing fuel subsidies, amending the property tax law, imposing a 10 percent tax on stock dividends and allowing the Egyptian pound to devalue somewhat against the dollar.Contrast that with President Obama, who used America's moms as an excuse to propose capital gains tax increases.
In a wide-ranging interview with Vox, Obama discusses his proposal to raise capital gains taxes on couples making more than $500,000 a year to help pay for middle-class tax breaks. The rate would go from 23.8% to 28%. Obama tells Vox’s Ezra Klein the capital-gains proposal “would make a big difference in our capacity to give a tax break to working moms for child care.” And, says Obama: “There’s no evidence that would hurt the incentives of folks at Google or Microsoft or Uber not to invent what they invent or not to provide services they provide.”
Egypt reportedly is preparing a large-scale ground and air assault along the Libyan border to oust the Islamic State group from eastern Libya. DebkaFile, quoting military and intelligence sources, said naval and marine forces are assembling at Egypt's Mediterranean ports for a possible assault on Derna, the militants' provincial capital. DebkaFile noted the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, represents an unacceptable threat to Egypt, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been warned extremists already have penetrated some Egyptian towns and military units. ISIS fighters are being smuggled through the Sinai Peninsula and Egypt from Syria and Iraq by drug rings, DebkaFile said.
Various unconfirmed reports are emerging indicating that there may be joint international action planned in Libya as early as next week. Egypt is already conducting air strikes against ISIS-linked targets in Derna, close to where Egyptian Coptics were massacred recently, as displayed in a gruesome video. Debka reports that Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi is planning further action in Libya, including more air strikes and possible ground troops, within a few days. According to the report, Egyptian commando and marine forces are preparing for sea landings to seize Derna and destroy the terrorist elements there. If this attack is actually launched, it will be the first time in modern times that an Arab country has sent ground forces into another Arab country. Al-Jazeera television reports that the Italian navy is getting ready to carry off sophisticated military drills off the coast of Libya as early as Monday. Although Italy claims that it will be a regular exercise, there are many more vessels taking part in this year’s exercise than have in the past, which Italy explains by saying that they are testing out sophisticated new technologies. ...Some reports indicate that Russia has hinted at a willingness to participate in a naval blockade of Libya to prevent arm supplies from leaving Libya for other countries. Russia could play a role in this because it already has a naval fleet in the Mediterranean.
Egypt’s air force bombed ISIS targets in Libya at dawn on Monday, a day after the militant group released a video purporting to show the execution of 21 Egyptian Copts there. "Your armed forces on Monday carried out focused air strikes in Libya against Daesh camps, places of gathering and training, and weapons depots," the military said in a statement, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. It was the first time Egypt confirmed launching air strikes against the group in neighboring Libya, suggesting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is ready to escalate his battle against militants seeking to topple his government.The airstrikes killed 50 militants and destroyed training bases and weapons stockpiles. Egyptian Copts featured in the video that preceded the strikes had been working in Libya and were kidnapped over the course of 2 months, then beheaded by the terror group. Shortly before the jets took off, Egypt's President Abdel el-Sisi said Cairo “reserved the right to respond in any way” to the butchery.
Egypt's Sisi: "Reserves Right of Retaliation"-After Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS Libya http://t.co/oEaTa2ic0T pic.twitter.com/tkaaEanwJ9 — Tom T. (@VRWCTexan) February 16, 2015
The head of Egypt's Suez Canal Authority said Wednesday his country would send troops to Yemen in case extremist groups attempt to block Bab Al-Mandab strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported. Lieutenant General Mohab Mamish said that Egypt "will not accept" closure of the waterway which "directly affects the Suez Canal and national security." Mamish said events in Yemen are under constant review and that the military is ready to intervene if the strait is blocked. Most ships that pass through Bab Al-Mandab are either going to or coming from Egypt's Suez Canal, one of the country's main sources of income and foreign currency flow.A close-up image of the area shows that Egypt has reasons to be concerned: the nation takes in $5 billion annually from the canal.
The Egyptian leader expressed his condolences to his French counterpart Francois Hollande, the families of the victims and the wounded, his office said in a statement. Sisi, in a telegram sent to Hollande, "expressed the Egyptian people and government's condemnation over the terrorist act that the French capital Paris witnessed today," the statement said. Offering his condolences to the victims' families and the wounded, Sisi said "terrorism is an international phenomenon that should be faced and terminated through joint international efforts".Historically, Egypt and France have always been important to each other. For example, when Napoleon sent an expedition over to that country,it reopened the area to trade with Europe and made it possible to uncover its rich history. Last November, Sisi was greeted with full military honors when he visited Paris.
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