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  1. CAIRO: Egypt's military said Tuesday it has killed 38 militants and arrested more than 500 militants and suspects days after launching a major operation against a Daesh affiliate in Sinai. The military said it had killed 10 "extremely dangerous" militants, in addition to 28 militants it had previously announced as having been killed. A statement added that 400 "criminal elements and suspects" had been arrested, having previously announced the arrest of 126 people. The dead militants had been "hiding inside a house in the vicinity of El-Arish city following a shoot-out," spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said in the statement. The operation has also destroyed several vehicles and warehouses, he said. On Friday, the military announced the start of "Operation Sinai 2018" in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel, the central Nile Delta and the Western Desert near the border with Libya. The security sweep comes as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seeks re-election in March, after the first term in office that has seen him crack down on a militant insurgency and other opponents. Egypt's security forces have been increasingly targeted by militants since the army - then headed by Sisi - overthrew president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Militants linked to Daesh and based in North Sinai have waged a deadly insurgency against the country's security forces. Egypt's air force and navy have also been taking part in the operation, with the Sinai sweep focusing on targets in the north and centre of the peninsula.
  2. Egyptian army in the Sinai. -File/AFP CAIRO: The Egyptian army announced the launch on Friday of a major operation against militants across swathes of territory including the Sinai Peninsula, the heart of a persistent Daesh insurgency. Police and troops have been put on "maximum alert" for the duration of Operation Sinai 2018, which also involves the airforce and navy, the army said in a statement. Warplanes will bomb areas where militants are hiding while troops, tanks and armoured vehicles will be deployed on the ground, security sources said. The security sweep in the Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert near the Libyan border comes as the country prepares for polls next month at which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seeking re-election. Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April last year, after two suicide bombings at churches claimed by Daesh killed at least 45 people in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria. The goal of Operation Sinai 2018 is to tighten control of border districts and "clean up areas where there are terrorist hotbeds", army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai said in a televised address. In a later update, he said the air force had targeted a number of homes and hideouts in the north and west of the Sinai. The navy was boosting security at maritime borders "to cut off the influx of terrorists," he added. Security sources and eyewitnesses confirmed that the operation was underway in the Nile Delta and North Sinai province. Churches, tourists attacked The security forces have been increasingly targeted by militants since the army overthrew president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Most of the violence has been in North Sinai province, but there have also been attacks on the military, police and even churches elsewhere, including Cairo. Militants have also attacked tourists, killing all 224 on board a Russian plane carrying holidaymakers in 2015. In November, Sisi ordered the armed forces chief of staff to restore security in Sinai within three months after militants killed more than 300 worshippers at a mosque. Sisi, who is expected to easily win another four-year term next month after several potential challengers were either hobbled or dropped out, said on Facebook he was "proudly following the heroism" of the security forces. Egypt has previously announced several major offensives to tackle the militants threat. It also carried out air strikes against Daesh in Libya in 2015 after a video was released showing the beheading of 21 Christians, almost all Egyptian Copts, on a Libyan beach. The military has boosted its operations on the border with Libya and repeatedly expressed concern about militants crossing over from the chaos-wracked country to launch attacks.
  3. FILE PHOTO - A cloud of dust rises from a dynamite blast, as part of construction work, at Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015. REUTER/ ADDIS ABABA: The leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Monday set a one-month deadline for laying out the ways to break a deadlock in talks over a mega dam Addis Ababa is building along its share of the Nile, an official said. Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, a $4 billion-hydroelectric project that Cairo fears will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia?s highlands and via Sudan. Ethiopia, which is financing the project alone and hopes to become the continent?s biggest power generator and exporter, dismisses the claims. Sudan supports the dam because it will regulate floods and provide electricity and irrigation. Talks between the three governments have stalled for months over disagreement on the wording of a study on the dam?s environmental impact. On Monday, Egypt?s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. ?They instructed their water and energy ministers to draw up in one month a report that thrashes out ways to resolve all outstanding issues regarding the dam,? an Ethiopian official who attended the talks told Reuters. The leaders have also agreed to hold heads of state meetings annually, and to set up a fund with the aim of building infrastructure such as a railway linking the three countries, he said. At the meeting, Hailemariam said the project ?was never intended to harm any country but to fulfil vital electricity needs and enhance development cooperation in the region?, according to a report by state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to finish the initial technical study within one month, the Egyptian state news agency said, citing the foreign minister. Tensions over the use of the world?s longest river have long simmered between the Egypt and Ethiopia, raising fears the disputes could eventually boil over into conflict. A major source of disagreement over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam is the speed at which its reservoir would be filled. Now over 60 percent complete, the dam will produce 6,000 MW upon completion. It is centerpiece to Ethiopia?s ambitious power exporting plans. Sudan and Ethiopia have also previously expressed concern over a proposed baseline from which a study by a French firm commissioned to assess the dam?s environmental and economic impact would measure the dam?s effects.
  4. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi CAIRO: A rights lawyer seen as the last real challenger to Egypt´s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday quit the race to be president, the latest in a string of potential candidates to withdraw or be jailed. Sisi, who has ruled the North African country with an iron fist since being elected in 2014, earlier in the day became the only candidate so far to formally submit his bid to stand in the election. Since December, one by one, all of his other likely challengers have either ruled themselves out of the race or been sentenced to time in prison. On Wednesday it was the turn of Khaled Ali, a leftist human rights lawyer who was seen as the strongest candidate still standing against Sisi following the elimination of two others. "Today we announce our decision that we will not run in this race," Ali said at a news conference in Cairo. A presidential candidate in 2012, the 45-year-old Ali said he had been forced to pull out of this year´s election to be held on March 26-28. There were, he said, "signs that pointed to a will to poison the whole operation and to corrupt and empty it of its supposedly democratic content." They included the arrest of some of his campaign activists, a tight schedule that made it difficult for potential candidates to gather the needed endorsements for their applications, and a generally unfair climate. Ali had yet to submit his candidacy for the election. As a lawyer, Ali has handled high-profile cases including one where he tried to get the courts to stop the transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, a move Sisi completed despite rare street protests after the agreement was signed in 2016. ´Large number´ of arrests From the start "our announcement was met with an angry and irresponsible reaction, manifested in the arrest of a large number of the campaign´s youth," he said. The arrests had started a few months "before we officially announced our intent to run... with some referred to urgent trials," said Ali, who had announced his intention to run in the race in November. The short timetable meant it was difficult for candidates to gather the necessary endorsements ahead of Monday´s deadline, he said. The National Election Authority announced on January 8 that the deadline for applications would be January 29. Presidential hopefuls must collect endorsements from at least 20 lawmakers, or at least 25,000 registered voters, with a minimum of 1,000 signatures from each of at least 15 provinces, according to Egyptian law. Ali also cited a case filed against him, where he was sentenced in September in absentia to three months in jail on accusations of "offending public decency", a ruling he appealed. This was in relation to a photograph that appeared to show Ali making an obscene gesture while celebrating a court ruling in the case of the islands´ transfer to Saudi Arabia. Ali alleges the picture was fabricated. The case was pursued "for nothing except to provide a legal excuse that would prevent us from running," he said. Ali also said the elections authority "ignored the larger part of our complaints, especially related to the continuation of electoral campaigning for the current president in the streets and squares." Challengers whittled away Sisi, who was elected president a year after heading the 2013 military ouster of leader Mohamed Morsi, on Wednesday officially submitted his application to run for a second four-year term. The list of those hoping to challenge him has been whittled away -- either by people ruling themselves out or being sentenced to prison terms in the past few weeks. On Tuesday a bid by General Sami Anan was plunged into doubt after the armed forces accused him on state television of "infractions and crimes" that require investigation. The authorities issued a gag order on the details of his case which is being handled by military judiciary. Other top challengers to drop out include Ahmed Shafiq, a prime minister under former long-serving president Hosni Mubarak, and Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a dissident and nephew of the former president of the same name. Shafiq reversed a pledge to run after he was returned to Egypt from exile in the United Arab Emirates, while Sadat said the climate was not right for free elections. Last month a military court sentenced Colonel Ahmed Konsowa to six years in jail after he announced his intention to stand. The only remaining well-known potential candidate is now Mortada Mansour, the head of Egypt´s legendary Zamalek football club.
  5. Egyptian security forces keep position outside the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Egypt's new administrative capital, near Cairo, January 6, 2018. AFP/Khaled Desouki NATIVITY OF CHRIST CATHEDRAL: Coptic Orthodox Christians packed Egypt's newly built Nativity of Christ Cathedral on Saturday for a Christmas Eve mass after a bloody year for a minority repeatedly targeted by extremists. Police had bolstered security around the country's churches for days, especially at the cathedral east of Cairo where President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to pay his respects to the ancient community. He walked in alongside Coptic Pope Tawadros II and took to the altar amid ululations and cries of "we love you". "We love you too," he responded. "You are our family, you are from us, we are one and no one will divide us." Sisi said the cathedral ? in a new administrative capital Egypt is building ? was a "message to the world, a message of peace, and a message of love". Military and political officials also attended the mass, conducted in a mix of ancient Greek and Coptic. "It really is excellent... I love him," said church volunteer Sandy Atef. "I love him because he saved us from the Brotherhood," said Hedy Elwahsh, an Evangelical Christian who attended the mass, referring to the 2013 overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi by the military, led by Sisi. Since then, security forces have sought to quell attacks led by the Egypt branch of Daesh, which has increasingly targeted Christians. Tightened security around the cathedral and other churches were a testament to fears of another attack. Police set up barriers around the church and spread out on the street leading to it while congregants took pictures before a Christmas tree outside. Within the church, some congregants had small Egyptian flags and used cellphones to take pictures of public figures as they entered. Daesh extremists have taken aim at other civilians, including more than 300 Muslim worshippers massacred at a mosque last November. But they have focused on the ancient Coptic community ? the largest Christian group in the Middle East. In December 2016, a Daesh suicide bomber killed almost 30 worshippers at a church in Cairo located in the Saint Mark's Cathedral complex, the seat of the Coptic papacy. In the Sinai Peninsula ? where Daesh is based ? hundreds of Christians were then forced to flee after a wave of assassinations. Daesh extremists killed more than 40 people in twin church bombings in April and, a month later, shot dead almost 30 Christians as they headed to a monastery. The year ended with a Daesh extremist killing nine people in an attack on a church in a south Cairo suburb. Copts ? who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 96 million people ? have long complained of discrimination and intermittent sectarian attacks.
  6. An Egyptian military vehicle is seen on the highway northern Sinai, Egypt May 25 - Reuters/file CAIRO: Egypt is to extend its nationwide state of emergency for three months from Jan. 13 to help tackle ?the dangers and funding of terrorism?, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday. Egypt first imposed the current state of emergency last April after two church bombings killed at least 45 people. It was extended in July and again in October. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is widely expected to run for a second term in an election due early this year, issued a decree on Tuesday to extend the state of emergency. The latest extension was to allow security forces to ?take (measures) necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country,? MENA reported, citing Egypt?s official gazette. Egypt faces a Daesh insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in recent years and has expanded to include attacks on civilians. Other militants operating in the western desert bordering Libya have also attacked security forces. Attacks south of Cairo in the past week, one of them claimed by Daesh, have targeted Christians. The election date is to be announced next Monday, local media reported.
  7. Security forces stand guard at the site of attack on a church in the Helwan district south of Cairo. -Reuters. CAIRO: A gunman opened fire on a church south of Cairo on Friday, killing at least nine people in the latest apparent militant attack on the country's Christian minority. Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told state television that the gunman was shot dead after killing nine people and wounding others, including a police officer. But the interior ministry said in a statement that the assailant, a wanted militant implicated in attacks on police, had been wounded and arrested. The militant had been armed with an assault rifle, 150 rounds of ammunition and a bomb he intended to set off at the church, the ministry said. The ministry said he killed two people when he opened fire on a store before heading to the church where he shot dead seven people including an officer. Cellphone footage posted on social media appeared to show the bearded gunman wearing a bulky ammunition vest sprawled on a street, barely conscious, as people restrained his arms and then handcuffed him. Police later cordoned off the crime scene as onlookers crowded around the church, while a forensics team combed the area. Congealing blood could be seen at a guard post in front of the church. Daesh's affiliate in Egypt has killed dozens of Christians in church bombings and shootings over the past year, and has threatened further attacks against the minority. Friday's attack came ahead of Christmas for the Copts, who celebrate it on January 7. Series of attacks on Christians Egypt's Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the country's 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region. Daesh claimed a suicide bombing of a Cairo church in December 2016 followed by bombings of two churches north of the capital in April. A month later, Daesh gunmen shot dead about 30 Christians south of Cairo as they travelled to a monastery. An Egyptian woman stands next to a cordoned off bullet-riddled wall at the site of a gun attack at a church. -AFP. The militants are believed to have also carried out a massacre of Muslim worshippers in Sinai last month, killing more than 300 in an attack on a mosque. Egypt imposed a state of emergency following the church attacks and shootings, and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded the army confront the militants with "brutal force" following the mosque massacre. The presidency said in a statement on Friday's church attack that it would increase the "resolve to continue the path of cleansing the country of terrorism and extremism." Daesh has been waging a deadly insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers. The militants have increasingly targeted civilians as attacks on the security forces have become more difficult. The army has poured in thousands of troops backed with armour and jets in a bid to crush the Sinai-based militants, but attacks have continued. The attack on the church came a day after six Egyptian soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in the Sinai. Last week, Daesh claimed responsibility for firing an anti-tank missile at a helicopter in a North Sinai airport as the defence and interior ministers were visiting. The attack killed an aide to the defence minister and a helicopter pilot, but both ministers returned to Cairo unscathed.
  8. CAIRO: Egyptian authorities on Tuesday executed 15 prisoners convicted of attacks on security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, police officials said. The men were hanged in two jails where they had been held since military courts sentenced them for the attacks in the Sinai, where militants are waging an insurgency, the officials said. It was the largest mass execution carried out in the North African country since six convicted militants were hanged in 2015. The hangings come a week after Daesh attacked a helicopter with an anti-tank missile at a North Sinai airport as the country's defence and interior ministers were visiting. The ministers were unhurt in the attack but an aide to the defence minister was killed along with a pilot. Daesh's Egypt affiliate has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in attacks in the Sinai and also targeted civilians in the mainland. Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds to death over unrest since the military ousted divisive Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. But most defendants have appealed and won retrials. Egypt has struggled to defeat the militants in Sinai. While their attacks have become less frequent, But they have increasingly targeted civilians over the past year. In November, suspected Daesh gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers at a mosque in Sinai. The militants have killed more than 100 Christians in church bombings and shootings since December last year. After the mosque massacre, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed his military chief of staff to quell the attacks in three months using "brutal force".
  9. Egyptian excavation workers begin restoration work on a mummy discovered in the KAMPP 150 tomb. Image Courtesy: ABC via AP/Hamada Elrasam LUXOR: Egypt?s authorities on Saturday revealed artefacts and a linen-wrapped mummified body ? possibly that of a top official ? from two tombs that were discovered two decades ago in the Nile city of Luxor but had not been fully unexplored. The Ministry of Antiquities said the tombs ? which are located in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor?s west bank ? had been noted by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in the 1990s and were either unexcavated or had never been entered. Along with the mummy, archaeologists found painted wooden funeral masks and several hundred carved statues, likely dating around the end of Egypt?s 17th Dynasty or the start of the 18th Dynasty, the ministry said. Egypt?s relics are a draw for foreign visitors and authorities hope new finds can help attract more as a way to help revive tourism hit by unrest that followed the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. In September, Egyptian archaeologists announced the discovery of a tomb of a prominent goldsmith who lived more than 3,000 years ago, unearthing statues, mummies, and jewellery in the latest major find near Luxor.
  10. An Egyptian labourer stands next to an ancient Egyptian mural found at the newly discovered "Kampp 161" tomb at Draa Abul Naga necropolis. -AFP1 LUXOR: Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a mummy in one of two previously unexplored tombs across the Nile from the southern city of Luxor, the antiquities ministry said Saturday. The tombs were found in the 1990s by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp, though she had only reached the entrance gate "but never entered", the ministry said. It said that both tombs, which were given numbers by Kampp, were likely to date back to dynasties of the New Kingdom, which lasted several centuries until about 3,000 years ago. Since Kampp´s discovery, "both tombs were left untouched" an Egyptian archaeological mission started work. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany was in Luxor to announce the discovery in Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings, where many pharaohs, including Tutankhamun, were buried. In addition to funerary items, archaeologists found "a mummy wrapped in linen", the ministry said, adding that "studies suggest the mummy could be for a top official or a powerful person". The owner is unidentified, though the ministry said they have two possible identities. The tomb might belong to "a person named Djehuty Mes whose name was engraved on one of the walls", the ministry said. Or it could belong to "the scribe Maati as his name and the name of his wife Mehi were inscribed on 50 funerary cones found in the tomb´s rectangular chamber". The other tomb was not excavated and only "uncovered" in April, the ministry said, adding that the tomb´s owner is not yet known. "The tomb has a court lined with stone and mud-brick walls. It has a six-metre deep burial shaft at its southern side that lead to four side chambers," the ministry said. "Studies reveal that the tomb was reused in antiquity," it said. The tomb contains several artifacts and a depiction of "a person, probably the deceased´s brother, presenting offerings and flowers to the deceased and his wife".
  11. Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/Files CAIRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt on December 11 to meet his counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian president's office said on Thursday. Putin has close ties with Sisi and had previously visited Egypt in 2015. Russia has sold arms to Egypt and is helping the North African country's first nuclear plant. "During the visit, the two presidents will hold talks on ways to further advancing frameworks of bilateral cooperation across various areas, particularly political, economic and trade relations," the presidency said in its statement. Several months after Putin's last visit, Russia suspended air travel to Egypt after Daesh bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from a Red Sea resort, killing all 224 people on board.
  12. Egypt's former prime minister Ahmed Shafik speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Abu Dhabi, February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh/Files Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik, who returned home from the United Arab Emirates after announcing his bid for Egypt?s presidency, appeared in Cairo on Sunday to say he was still considering his run in next year?s election. Shafik?s comments on a private Cairo television station came a day after his family said he had been taken from their home in the Emirates and deported back to Egypt, where they said they had lost contact with him until late on Sunday. Shafik, a former air force chief and government minister, has been seen by critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as the strongest potential challenger to the president, who is expected to run for a second term next year. Details about what happened to Shafik between his leaving the UAE on Saturday and his declaration on Sunday were unclear. He made a surprise announcement from the UAE last week that he planned to run in the 2018 election. ?Today, I am here in the country, so I think I am free to deliberate further on the issue, to explore and go down and talk to people in the street,? he said on Sunday. ?There?s a chance now to investigate more and see exactly what is needed ... to feel out if this is the logical choice.? The interview on Dream TV was Shafik?s first public appearance since leaving the UAE on Saturday. His family said earlier they feared he had been ?kidnapped?. Sources said he had been picked up by Egyptian authorities at Cairo airport. Shafik dismissed reports he had been kidnapped. His lawyer, Dina Adly, wrote on her Facebook page that she had been able to see him at a Cairo hotel and said he was not subject to any investigations. She did not confirm whether he was able to leave the hotel or country. ?I had a meeting with Shafik an hour ago at one of the hotels in New Cairo and confirmed his health,? Adly wrote on Facebook, referring to a suburban area of Cairo. ?He confirmed that his health was good and that he was not subjected to any investigations,? she wrote. Shafik?s family said earlier he had been taken from their home on Saturday by UAE authorities and flown by private plane back to Cairo. ?We know nothing about him since he left home yesterday,? Shafik?s daughter May told Reuters on Sunday before his reappearance. ?If he was deported he should have been able to go home by now, not just disappear. We consider him kidnapped.? UAE authorities confirmed he left the Emirates but gave no details. A source at the Egyptian interior ministry said: ?We do not know anything about Shafik. We did not arrest him and we did not receive any requests from the prosecution to arrest him or bring him back.? Gulf allies Shafik?s abrupt departure from UAE came weeks after Lebanese officials accused Saudi Arabia of meddling by forcing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign by holding him against his will. Saudi Arabia denied those charges but the case prompted a crisis and pushed Lebanon back into the centre of a regional struggle between Riyadh with its Gulf allies and Iran. Al-Sisi is an ally of UAE and Saudi Arabia and his supporters say he is key to Egypt?s stability. Critics say he has eroded freedoms gained after a 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak and jailed hundreds of dissidents. Al-Sisi has won backing from Gulf states and has presented himself as a bulwark against militants since, as army commander, he led the overthrow in 2013 of former president Mohamed Mursi of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. After four decades in the military, Shafik touted his military experience as one of his strengths in the 2012 vote. But he fled to the UAE to escape corruption charges in June 2012. He dismissed the charges as politically motivated and was taken off airport watchlists last year. In UAE, his family said he had round-the-clock security at home and informed authorities about his whereabouts. Soon after his announcement on Wednesday, he claimed he had been blocked from travelling, but his family later said he had been given assurances he could travel. Al-Sisi has yet to announce his own intentions for the election. His supporters dismiss criticism over rights abuses and say any measures are needed for security in the face of an extremist insurgency that has killed hundreds of police and soldiers. His government is struggling to crush the insurgency in the North Sinai region and has enacted painful austerity reforms over the last year which critics say have eroded his popularity.
  13. File CAIRO: An Egyptian-European mission has discovered 27 fragmented statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet across the Nile from Egypt?s southern city of Luxor, the antiquities ministry said on Sunday. The statues of the goddess, known as The Lady of War, were found in the ground at the Colossi of Memnon area on the city?s west bank, which used to be a capital for ancient Egypt, the ministry said in a statement. Sekhmet had the body of a woman and the head of a fierce lioness, with a headpiece featuring the sun disk and was one of the goddesses known as Eyes of Ra, the sun god. The newly found statues were about two meters (six and a half feet) high and carved in black granite, the ministry said citing Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The statues had the goddess?s head ?crowned by a sundisk? while a cobra ?adorns her forehead,? Waziri was cited as saying. Some were of Sekhmet ?sitting on the throne, holding the symbol of life in her left hand? while others were of her ?standing and holding the papyrus scepter,? he added. The excavation began on November 7 and lasted till the end of the month, said Hourig Sourouzian, who led the mission. The mission found additional statues at the end of November, bringing the total number to 39, Sourouzian told AFP. The statues that were found closer to the earth?s surface were in good condition, unlike the others found deeper in the ground, Sourouzian was cited as saying. The mission was preparing the discovered statues for display, she said. The mission has discovered 287 statues of Sekhmet since it began its excavation work in 1998, the ministry said, citing Fathi Yassin, director-general of the West Bank Antiquities in Luxor. Luxor, a city of half a million people on the banks of the Nile, a former Egyptian capital known as Thebes during ancient times, abounds with temples and tombs built by Egypt?s pharaohs.
  14. Egyptian military prosecutors ordered a colonel be detained for 15 days after he announced plans to run in the country?s 2018 presidential election, his lawyer said Sunday. Photo: YouTube CAIRO: Egyptian military prosecutors ordered a colonel be detained for 15 days after he announced plans to run in the country?s 2018 presidential election, his lawyer said Sunday. Colonel Ahmed Konsowa was detained on Saturday on suspicion of "behaviour that harms the requirements of the military" because he "published a video and stated political views," said the lawyer, Asaad Heikal. The 42-year-old colonel was detained for 15 days in preventive custody as the prosecution investigates the case, Heikal told AFP. Konsowa announced his plans to stand in the election in video messages and a statement posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday. "I proudly declare that I have decided to unlock the current political deadlock by running" in the election, Konsowa said in the statement. Without mentioning Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi?s name, Konsowa criticised in the videos the country?s policies in education, health, and the economy. Egypt "cannot wait anymore to join the developed world and to abide by human rights standards and global values of citizenship and transparency, as well as the rule of law," he said in the statement. Konsowa?s lawyer said the colonel was "still in the armed forces and he affirms that he values his service and he is not a rebel." The colonel "announced his candidacy in the example of President Sisi, who declared his candidacy wearing his uniform and then resigned" as defence minister, said Heikal. Konsowa, he added, had, in fact, declared his intent to run for office following the example of Sisi: himself a former army chief. Sisi was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, amid mass protests against his one-year rule. Sisi is certain to run in next year?s election, although he has yet to formally announced his candidacy. Konsowa said he had been trying to resign from the military in lawsuits for more than three years, submitting his first resignation in March 2014. Since then, he said, he had been "struggling in a very disappointing legal battle to get my political-participation constitutional right to run for various elections." "Consequently this time I have decided to put the whole thing in front of the people through this simple announcement," he said. Former premier and military general Ahmed Shafiq was reportedly deported from the United Arab Emirates to Egypt, also on Saturday, after announcing he would run in the election. Shafiq?s lawyer and a relative said his whereabouts have not been known since he reportedly landed back in Cairo on Saturday evening.
  15. Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafiq who has said he will challenge President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in elections next year. Photo: AFP CAIRO: UAE officials on Saturday deported former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq from the Gulf country he had been living in since 2012 to Egypt after he announced his candidacy in upcoming elections, two of his aides told AFP. Shafiq landed in Cairo airport on Saturday evening and quickly left to an unknown destination, an airport official said. The move comes days after Shafiq, in exile in the UAE since 2012, announced his candidacy in next year?s election and then said he was being prevented from leaving the country, angering his Emirati hosts. 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 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. Sisi certain to run 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 him, won an election in 2014. He is certain to run in next year?s election, although he has not formally announced his candidacy yet. Sisi has undertaken tough economic reforms that saw the Egyptian pound lose more than half its value while inflation skyrocketed, 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 Daesh group insurgency that the army has struggled to put out. Last month, suspected Daesh gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers in a Sinai peninsula mosque, provoking outrage in Egypt but also questions on why the mosque had been unguarded after receiving threats from the extremists.
  16. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Saturday for countries to unify their efforts against "terrorism" as he condemned an attack on a mosque in Egypt that left 305 people dead. Photo: AFP JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Saturday for countries to unify their efforts against "terrorism" as he condemned an attack on a mosque in Egypt that left 305 people dead. "Israel strongly condemns the horrific and criminal terrorist attack on the Rawda mosque near El-Arish," said a statement from his office. "Terrorism will be defeated even more quickly if all countries work against it together." Egypt was in mourning on Saturday as the death toll from the gun and bomb assault at the mosque in the Sinai Peninsula soared above 300, including children, in the deadliest attack the country has witnessed. The state prosecution said that up to 30 militants in camouflage flying the Daesh's banner had surrounded the mosque and proceeded to massacre the worshippers during weekly Friday prayers. The army said warplanes attacked militant hideouts in the insurgency-wracked North Sinai in retaliation. Daesh has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is the main suspect.
  17. Egypt´s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi/File photo CAIRO: Egypt´s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has vowed to respond forcefully after attackers killed at least 235 worshippers in a packed mosque in restive North Sinai province, the country´s deadliest attack in recent memory. Al-Sisi declared three days of mourning would begin Saturday, the day after the gun and bomb assault on the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish. In a televised speech the president pledged to "respond with brutal force", adding that "the army and police will avenge our martyrs and return security and stability with force in the coming short period". Several hours later Egyptian air force jets destroyed vehicles used in the attack and "terrorist" locations where weapons and ammunition were stocked, an army spokesman said. Witnesses said assailants had surrounded the mosque with all-terrain vehicles and detonated a bomb. They then mowed down panicked worshippers as they tried to flee and used congregants´ vehicles they had set alight to block routes to the mosque. Egyptians gather around ambulances following a gun and bombing attack on the Rawda mosque near the North Sinai provincial capital of El-Arish on November 24, 2017/AFP The state prosecutor´s office said in a statement that 235 people were killed and 109 wounded in the attack, the scale of which is unprecedented in a four-year insurgency by extremist groups. AFP photographs of the scene indicated that children were among the dead. World leaders condemned the attack. US President Donald Trump condemned on Twitter the "horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenceless worshippers". The grand imam of Cairo´s Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, condemned "in the strongest terms this barbaric terrorist attack". Daesh targeting of Sufis There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bloodshed. The Daesh group´s Egypt branch has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, and also civilians accused of working with the authorities, in attacks in the north of the Sinai peninsula. They have also targeted followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Islam as well as Christians. A tribal leader and head of a Bedouin militia that fights Daesh told AFP that the mosque is known as a place where Sufis gather. The Daesh group shares the puritan Salafi view that Sufis are heretics for seeking the intercession of saints. The militants had previously kidnapped and beheaded an elderly Sufi leader, accusing him of practising magic, and abducted Sufi practitioners later released after "repenting". The group has killed more than 100 Christians in church bombings and shootings in Sinai and other parts of Egypt, forcing many to flee the peninsula. The military has struggled to quell militants who pledged allegiance to Daesh in November 2014. Mosque attack death toll in Egypt rises to 235 Victims included civilians and conscripts praying at the mosque The militants have since increasingly turned to civilian targets, attacking not only Christians and Sufis but also Bedouin Sinai inhabitants accused of working with the army. The Gaza Strip´s border crossing with Egypt that had been due to reopen Saturday will remain closed until further notice because of the attack, a Palestinian official said. Aside from Daesh, Egypt also faces a threat from Al-Qaeda-aligned militants who operate out of neighbouring Libya. A group calling itself Ansar al-Islam -- Supporters of Islam in Arabic -- claimed an October ambush in Egypt´s Western Desert that killed at least 16 policemen. Many of those killed belonged to the interior ministry´s secretive National Security Service. The military later conducted air strikes on the attackers, killing their leader Emad al-Din Abdel Hamid, a most wanted militant who was a military officer before joining an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Libya´s militant stronghold of Derna.
  18. CAIRO: Egypt's public prosecutor ordered 29 people to be detained for 15 days pending an investigation into accusations they spied for Turkey and joined a "terrorist" group, his office said Wednesday. The 29 suspects - and others who are still at large - are accused of "spying in favour of Turkey and membership in an terrorist organisation", a statement said. The suspects were accused of offering Egyptian citizens an international phone service, which was set up to spy on Egyptians and offer the information to Turkish intelligence. They listened in on those calls to monitor the opinions of Egyptians on conditions in the country, and then leaked the information to Turkish intelligence services. The suspects acted in agreement with "elements from the Turkish security and intelligence services and members of the international Muslim Brotherhood organisation" in a bid to help the Muslim Brotherhood take power in Egypt, the statement said. The public prosecutor's office did not give a timeline for these alleged acts nor was it clear when the suspects were arrested. The suspects were also accused of money laundering, illegal currency trade as well as setting up media entities abroad to disseminate fake news aimed at "stirring up public opinion against (Egypt's) state institutions", the statement said. The statement said authorities searched the homes of the suspects and found computers equipped with surveillance programmes and other equipment to facilitate the international calls. Relations between Egypt and Turkey have been strained since Egypt's army ousted president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Ankara denounced the move and called Morsi´s ouster a "coup". Several members of Morsi's Moslem Brotherhood - now outlawed in Egypt - have sought refuge in Turkey, which also hosts pro-Brotherhood satellite television channels.
  19. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (right) is greeted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. ? AFP CAIRO: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stopped in Egypt for talks on Tuesday on his way back from France to his country, which is reeling from his surprise resignation amid an escalating regional crisis. Minutes after Hariri landed in Cairo, small groups of supporters took to the streets of central Beirut in noisy convoys, honking, cheering and waving flags with the colours of the premier?s Future Movement. Hariri?s visit to Cairo follows two weeks of deep uncertainty after he announced his resignation on November 4 in a speech from Saudi Arabia. He has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday. A message on Hariri?s Twitter account said he would meet and then dine with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has sought to defuse the tensions between Hariri?s sponsors in Saudi Arabia and the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons. Sisi?s office said he received a phone call from Lebanese President Michel Aoun in which they discussed "the importance of preserving Lebanon?s stability and elevating Lebanon?s national interests." Hariri?s failure to return to Lebanon since his resignation sparked rumours he was being held in Riyadh against his will, which both he and Saudi officials have denied. Speaking after talks in Paris on Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also seeking to broker a way out of the crisis, Hariri said he would "make known my position" once back in Beirut. Hariri?s mysterious decision to step down -- which Aoun has refused to accept while he remains abroad -- has raised fears over Lebanon?s fragile democracy. In his resignation speech, he accused Iran and its powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilising his country. Hariri -- whose father, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, was killed in a 2005 car bombing blamed on Hezbollah -- took over last year as head of a shaky national unity government which includes the powerful Hezbollah. A dual Saudi citizen who has previously enjoyed Riyadh?s backing, he resigned saying he feared for his life. Saudi Arabia?s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir meanwhile insisted from Madrid on Friday that "unless Hezbollah disarms and becomes a political party, Lebanon will be held hostage by Hezbollah and, by extension, Iran". Battle for influence Hariri?s resignation was widely seen as an escalation of the battle for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. His attempt to step down also coincides with a purge of more than 200 Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen. Riyadh on Saturday recalled its ambassador to Berlin in protest at comments by Germany?s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel which were interpreted as a suggestion that Hariri acted under Saudi orders. Without mentioning Saudi Arabia directly, Gabriel had said Thursday that he shared concerns about the threat of instability and bloodshed in Lebanon and warned against "adventurism". "Lebanon has earned the right to decide on its fate by itself and not become a pinball of Syria or Saudi Arabia or other national interests," he said in the week. Germany?s foreign ministry had yet to comment on the row, but in a statement it welcomed Hariri?s "imminent return to Lebanon". France, which held mandate power over Lebanon for the first half of the 20th century, plans to bring together international support for Lebanon, depending on how the situation develops. The French president has also telephoned his counterparts in the US and Egypt, Donald Trump and Sisi, as well as the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss "the situation in the Middle East". He and Trump "agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hezbollah?s and Iran?s destabilising activities in the region", according to a White House statement Saturday. However, Macron told reporters Friday that France wanted "dialogue" with Iran and aimed to "build peace... not to choose one side over another". Ahead of Hariri?s departure, Aoun -- an ally of Hezbollah -- welcomed the trip to Paris, expressing hope it was the "start of a solution". "If Mr Hariri speaks from France, I would consider that he speaks freely," Aoun said. "But his resignation must be presented in Lebanon, and he will have to remain there until the formation of the new government."
  20. Saad al-Hariri looks on after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files BEIRUT: Saad al-Hariri ? who announced his resignation as Lebanese prime minister in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia on November 4 ? will visit Egypt on Tuesday to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Hariri?s office said on Sunday. Hariri has since Saturday been in Paris ? where he met French President Emmanuel Macron ? and has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday for its Independence Day celebrations. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said he will not accept Hariri?s resignation until it is delivered in person and all sides in Beirut have called for his speedy return. Hariri also reiterated on Twitter his plan to "visit Egypt for talks" with al-Sisi. A leader in Hariri?s Future Movement had earlier told Reuters Hariri would visit Egypt on Monday. The resignation sparked a political crisis in Lebanon and put it on the front line of a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Hariri criticized Iran and its ally Hezbollah ? which is in Lebanon?s coalition government ? in his resignation statement, saying he feared assassination. Apart from a brief trip to Abu Dhabi, he remained in Saudi Arabia until he flew to France. His stay in the kingdom led to accusations from Lebanese officials and politicians that Saudi Arabia had coerced him to resign, which he and Riyadh denied. On Friday, Hariri tweeted that his presence there was for ?consultations on the future of the situation in Lebanon and its relations with the surrounding Arab region?. On Sunday, Arab League foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo ? requested by Saudi Arabia ? to discuss ways to confront Iran and Hezbollah over their role in the region. In a statement afterwards, the ministers accused Hezbollah of supporting terrorism in Arab countries. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil did not attend.
  21. GAZA CITY: Egypt opened its largely sealed border with Gaza on Saturday for the first time since a reconciliation agreement saw the Palestinian Authority take control of the crossing from Hamas. A Palestinian official at the Rafah crossing said it had opened at 0700 GMT and was expected to stay open for three days. "Egypt will open the crossing for humanitarian cases registered with the interior ministry," the official said, adding that civilian and security personnel on the Palestinian side were all employees of the reconciliation government headed by Rami Hamdallah. Up to 20,000 people from Gaza have applied to enter Egypt. during the brief reopening. Egypt´s border with the Gaza Strip had been totally sealed since August, and was largely closed for years before that. The Egypt-brokered deal is expected to lead to more regular opening of the Rafah crossing. The head of the Palestinian Authority´s security services Majid Faraj held talks with senior Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in Gaza on Friday. All Palestinian factions are due to meet in Cairo next week to discuss ways to move the reconciliation deal forward. Both Israel and Egypt have maintained blockades of Gaza for years, arguing that they are necessary to isolate Hamas.
  22. A Russian archaeological team has discovered a well-preserved mummy from the Greco-Roman period in a wooden coffin south of Cairo. Photo: AFP file CAIRO: A Russian archaeological team has discovered a well-preserved mummy from the Greco-Roman period in a wooden coffin south of Cairo, Egypt?s antiquities ministry said Tuesday. The discovery was made near New Fayoum city, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the Egyptian capital, the ministry said in a statement. The team ?found inside the coffin a well-preserved mummy, wrapped in linen, with its face covered by a human mask with drawings in blue and gold,? it said. While mummification is mostly associated with ancient Egypt, the practice continued into the Greco-Roman era. The Russian team made its discovery near a monastery in the village of Qalamshah. ?The expedition carried out an initial restoration of the coffin and the mummy, as the coffin was found in a bad condition,? the ministry said, citing the minister?s assistant Mohamed Abdel Lateef. The statement did not say when the discovery was made. ?The cover is broken and the base has several cracks, and it doesn?t have an inscription on it,? it added, citing Abdel Lateef. The Russian mission has been operating for seven years in the area, which has Islamic and Coptic monuments as well as others from the Greco-Roman period (330 BC-670 AD).
  23. How would you feel if someone gives you the opportunity to be the king or the queen of a particular area? Even if it's a strip of land, it would still feel pretty cool, right? Hell, it's a childhood dream of most of us. However, majority of us have accepted the fact that this dream is most likely to remain unfulfilled. via GIPHY But as it turns out, one of us didn't give up on this rather far-fetched dream and achieved something that most of us could never even think of. An Indian man, Suyash Dixit just became the king of a strip of land that falls between Egypt and Sudan. Well, he declared himself as the king but rightfully so. Perplexed? Here is a clearer picture of how exactly he managed to pull this feat. So, the strip of land that Suyash has declared himself to be the king of is in reality an unclaimed area i.e. it belongs to no country. The area is called Bir Tawil and is on the South of Egypt's border and the North of Sudan's border. © Wendover Productions Now, the problem arises because Egypt follows the 1899 border set by the British administration at the time of its colonization however, Sudan follows the 1902 border as its official border. Henceforth, both the countries think that this strip of land belongs to the other country and so, it is an unclaimed piece of land. via GIPHY If this is the perfect portrayal of your current face expression and mood, then we suggest you have a look at this video to understand it better: Coming back to our very own Suyash, he had this all planned to the T. And much to our delight, he explained it all in a Facebook post. He explains his journey, “I traveled 319KM (to and fro) in far desert with no roads to claim this unclaimed land of Bir Tawil. It was an epic journey starting from Abu Simbel at 4 am. I took help from a local driver Mustafa for the car and most part of driving. When I told him about the plan first he thought I am crazy but then he agreed (yeah I paid him a lot). I and Suyog spent 2 nights planning a highly optimised route for my travel where we can take the car.” If you are thinking how easy it is to drive up to that area and claim it as your own, we are going to stop you right there. He explained the dangers involved too, “Just to tell how dangerous this plan was, the route that I took is under Egyptian military (it is an international border) and is an area of terrorists so military have a “shoot at sight” orders. But, if your bucket list ideas are not scary enough then they are not worth trying! And yes you need permissions to even enter the route that takes to this place. We got on 3 conditions, no photos of military areas (which is almost everything), you be back in the single day and you do not carry valuables. We drove for 6 hours straight in the middle of the desert and barren lands and crossing 1 military base to the location.” That's some dedication right there. via GIPHY Now if you are wondering how he claimed the land to be his own, he actually went old school, “Following the early civilization ethics and rule, if you want to claim a land then you need to grow crops on it. I have added a seed and poured some water on it today. It is mine.” © Suyash Dixit He even went ahead got a flag made and hoisted it. © Suyash Dixit And, wait for it, he even got a website for his 'country' which he calls 'Kingdom of Dixit' and is inviting applications for different posts and for citizenship. You can apply for a number of posts such as Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Chief Minister et al. But not for Prime Minister and the Head of Military because Suyash himself holds both these posts (DUH!). Here is the full Facebook post: Honestly, we are still a little shocked and maybe a little jealous too. Why don't we ever get such ideas? PS: If you are interested in applying for a post or want to become a citizen (we don't know how legit this is), you can visit here- https://kingdomofdixit.gov.best/
  24. Arab foreign ministers meet during a regular session to discuss latest developments in Middle Eastern affairs, in Cairo, Egypt, September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Files CAIRO: Saudi Arabia has called for an urgent meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo next week to discuss Iran?s intervention in the region, an official league source told Egypt?s MENA state news agency on Sunday. The call came after the resignation of Lebanon?s prime minister pushed Beirut back into the centre of a rivalry between kingdom Saudi Arabia and Iran and heightened regional tensions.
  25. CAIRO: An Egyptian archaeologist overseeing a project to scan a pyramid for voids on Saturday criticised the announcement of a discovery of a passenger plane-sized cavity in the Great Pyramid. Scientists with the ScanPyramids project revealed on Thursday that the void discovered with subatomic particle scans was the first major structure found inside the pyramid since the 19th century. It is thought to be at least 30 metres (98 feet) long and located above the "Grand Gallery" -- a sloped corridor almost 50 metres long and nine metres high which links Khufu´s burial chamber at the pyramid´s centre to a tunnel leading outside. The findings were published by the science journal Nature. But Zahi Hawass, who heads the ScanPyramids science committee overseeing the project, said there was no new "discovery". He said he had met other scientists from ScanPyramids who "showed us their conclusions, and we informed them this is not a discovery," he told AFP. "The pyramid is full of voids and that does not mean there is a secret chamber or a new discovery," he said. In a statement on Friday, the head of the government´s antiquities council Mustafa Waziri also criticised the announcement. "The project has to proceed in a scientific way that follows the steps of scientific research and its discussion before publication," he said. The monument -- 139 metres high today, and 230 metres wide -- was erected as a tomb for Khufu, also known as Cheops. To this day, nobody knows quite how it was built. The void, said co-author Kunihiro Morishima from Nagoya University in Japan, "was not known by anyone until now, from when the pyramid was built 4,500 years ago". "The big void is completely closed," he added, which means anything inside it would not have been "touched by anyone after the pyramid (was) built". The pharaohs of ancient Egypt built these monumental tombs for themselves, complete with sarcophagus to hold their embalmed mummies, and stocked with everything they could require for the afterlife, including food, clothing and jewellery.