Friday 19 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A Sufi leader associated with a mosque where suspected Islamic State group gunmen massacred hundreds of worshippers in Egypt said Tuesday the jihadists had warned against holding Sufi rituals there. Friday's massacre during prayers in the North Sinai town of Rawda killed at least 300 people when suspected IS gunmen surrounded the mosque and opened fire. IS, which views some practices of the Sufi sect as heretical, had previously targeted the mystics by kidnapping one of their leaders and beheading him. In one of their propaganda outlets, they had also vowed to fight the Sufis in Sinai, singling out the Jariri Sufi order associated with the mosque. Sheikh Mohamed al-Jawish, deputy head of the Jariri order, said that less than...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Egyptian security forces killed 11 suspected "terrorist elements" during a raid on a hideout for militants providing support for jihadists in the northern Sinai, the interior ministry said on Tuesday. A ministry statement said police were still identifying the suspected militants killed in the raid in Ismailiya province after they opened fire on security forces approaching the hideout. Militants carried out a bomb and gun assault on a mosque in Rawda village in North Sinai province on Friday, killing 305 people -- the deadliest in Egypt's recent history -- in an attack thought to have been carried out by the Islamic State group. It is widely believed in Egypt that the massacre took place at the mosque because Sufi Muslims...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/28/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s central bank removed caps on deposits and withdrawals of foreign currency for importers on Tuesday, lifting some of the last currency controls put in place after a 2011 uprising. The move is another sign that bank liquidity is improving as a result of Egypt’s $12 billion, three-year International Monetary Fund program and a currency flotation that halved the pound’s value and helped crush the black market for dollars. Egypt imposed strict controls on the movement of hard currency as the 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, key sources of foreign currency, forcing importers to rely on a more expensive black market for dollars. In 2012, it limited deposits to $10,000 per day and $50,000...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/28/17)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have killed 11 suspected militants in a shootout near the Sinai, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, just days after more than 300 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in North Sinai. The shootout occurred during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in the Sinai-bordering province of Ismailia, the ministry said in a statement. It said the area was being used by militants to train and store weapons and logistical equipment for attacks in North Sinai. Militants detonated a bomb and then gunned down fleeing worshippers in last Friday’s mosque attack, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history. No group has claimed responsibility for the assault, but Egypt’s public prosecutor linked...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
The Islamic State group's Egypt branch is the main suspect in Friday's massacre at a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula, the latest attack in a long-running jihadist insurgency. It has yet to claim responsibility for the operation, which killed more than 300 people including children. Here are some facts about the group. - Sinai-based, IS-linked - Jihadists had operated in Sinai for years, but infrequent attacks turned into a fully fledged insurgency after the military, prompted by mass protests against Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, ousted him in 2013. The main jihadist group operating at the time was called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, and its propoganda reflected loyalty to Al-Qaeda. Following Al-Qaeda's split in Syria, IS declared a caliphate there and Iraq...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
An Egyptian court has upheld death sentences for seven people over the beheadings in Libya of 21 Christians, all but one from Egypt, and for belonging to the Islamic State group, a judicial official said Sunday. In February 2015, Libya posted a video on the internet of the beheadings on a Libyan beach, sparking international condemnation and Egyptian air strikes against jihadist targets in the neighbouring country. Saturday's court ruling came a day after an attack on a mosque in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that killed more than 300 people and for which IS is the main suspect. The court also sentenced 10 people to life in prison -- 25 years in Egypt -- and three others to 15 years in...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
The young Egyptian imam who survived the Sinai mosque massacre that killed 305 people vowed Sunday from his hospital bed to go back and resume the sermon he never finished. Mohammed Abdel Fattah, 26, was delivering the Friday sermon at the North Sinai Rawda mosque when blasts erupted. "I was only two minutes into my sermon when I heard two explosions outside the mosque, and then I saw worshippers running in horror," he said. "Then people entered the mosque and began firing at everyone who was still standing," the preacher said from his hospital bed in the Nile Delta town of Al-Husayniya. Abdel Fattah -- who has been imam for two years at the Rawda mosque frequented by Sufis --...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
Sufi Muslims in Egypt plan to proceed with a major annual celebration despite a Sinai mosque massacre that killed more than 300 people and appeared to have targeted them. While no group has yet claimed Friday's horrific attack or said why the mosque was targeted, it is widely believed in Egypt that it happened because Sufis worshipped there. Despite mourning the jihadist attack thought to have been carried out by the Islamic State group, the Sufis say they will mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed as planned, a week to the day after the massacre. The gun and bomb assault on the Rawda village mosque in restive North Sinai roughly 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the provincial capital...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced 14 men convicted of being homosexuals to three years in jail each for "abnormal" sexual relations, a defence lawyer said. Ishaq Wadie said the men were released on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($283, 230 euros) each until an appeals trial. The trial of three other suspects was delayed over procedural reasons, the lawyer said. Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but gays have previously been charged with debauchery in the deeply conservative Muslim society. In recent months, authorities have cracked down on people who practice so-called "abnormal" sexual relations...
(AFP (eng) 11/25/17)
The death toll from an attack on a mosque in Egypt's Sinai rose to 305 including 27 children, the state prosecution said Saturday in a statement detailing the gruesome massacre. It said there were between 25 and 30 attackers with long hair and beards, dressed in camouflage and flying a black banner with the Muslim profession of faith on it, which could be a description of the Islamic State group's flag. They surrounded the mosque and opened fire on the worshippers on Friday, it said. The attackers had arrived in five all-terrain vehicles and later set fire to seven cars belonging to the worshippers. The statement said witnesses recounted hearing gunshots and explosions before some of the assailants entered the mosque. se/dr
(AFP (eng) 11/25/17)
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...
(AFP (eng) 11/24/17)
Armed attackers on Friday killed at least 235 worshippers in a bomb and gun assault on a packed mosque in Egypt's restive North Sinai province, in the country's deadliest attack in recent memory. A bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque frequented by Sufis roughly 40 kilometres west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish before gunmen opened fire on those gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said. Witnesses said the assailants had surrounded the mosque with all-terrain vehicles then planted a bomb outside. The gunmen then mowed down the panicked worshippers as they attempted to flee and used the congregants' vehicles they had set alight to block routes to the mosque. The state prosecutor's office said in a statement...
(Bloomberg 11/24/17)
Militants armed with guns and explosives stormed a mosque in Egypt’s restive northern Sinai on Friday, killing at least 200 people and wounding 125 others in the deadliest single attack in the country in years. The assault, which took place west of the coastal town of El-Arish, targeted people gathered for Friday prayers at the Rawda mosque, which is frequented by Sufis. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the majority of the 95 million population is Muslim. Sufi Islam is a mystical interpretation of the religion and its followers are considered heretics by jihadist movements. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But Sinai province, a triangular piece of land bordering southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, has...
(The Associated Press 11/24/17)
Militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the Sinai Peninsula, settling off explosives, spraying worshippers with gunfire and killing at least 200 people in the deadliest ever attack on Egyptian civilians by Islamic extremists. The attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of Islam’s mystical movement, in the north Sinai town of Bir al-Abd. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith. The IS affiliate has been waging a stepped-up campaign of violence in northern Sinai for years and has claimed deadly bombings on churches in the capital, Cairo, and other cities, killing dozens of Christians. It also is believed to have...
(BBC News Africa 11/24/17)
Militants have launched a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt's North Sinai province, killing 235 people, state media say. Witnesses say the al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, near al-Arish, was targeted during Friday prayers. It is 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. What happened? Local police said gunmen arrived in four off-road vehicles and bombed the packed mosque before opening fire on worshippers, the Associated Press reported. Pictures from the scene show rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque. At least 100 people were wounded,...
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
Egyptian police killed three alleged Islamist militants in a shootout and arrested nine belonging to the Lewaa al-Thawra group that assassinated an army general last year, the interior ministry said Thursday. Lewaa al-Thawra surfaced in 2016 to claim several attacks in Cairo, including the assassination of an army brigadier general outside his suburban home in October. Police have accused the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi of directing the group. The interior ministry said in a statement police carried out raids against members of the group in the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Beheira, and Kafr el-Sheikh.
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
Egypt's Prime Minister Sharif Ismail left the country Thursday for a three-week course of medical treatment and surgery in Germany amid speculation he would be permanently replaced in a cabinet shuffle. The cabinet said on Wednesday evening that Ismail would head to Germany for "three weeks" for the treatment. He departed on Thursday, an AFP correspondent at Cairo airport said. Ismail, who has reportedly been ill, will likely be replaced by a caretaker prime minister during his absence. Local media reported his resignation last month, which the cabinet denied, but that has not quelled widespread speculation that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will replace him ahead of presidential elections in the spring of 2018.

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