Daily Archives: December 24, 2013

Egypt brands Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after blast killed 14

Hazem Beblawi named Egypt's new Prime MinisterEgyptian Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi has declared the country’s Muslim Brotherhood movement a “terrorist” organisation, state news agency MENA reported, quoting the premier’s spokesman. Beblawi’s remarks came just hours after a car bomb ripped through a police headquarters in the city of Mansoura, north of Cairo, killing at least 14 people, mostly policemen.

Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi’s condemnation of the group comes just weeks ahead of a referendum on a new constitution that is billed as the first major step toward democracy since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July.

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“Prime Minister Beblawi has declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation,” state news agency MENA quoted the premier’s spokesman Sherif Showky as saying.

An Egyptian court has already banned the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi belongs, while the interim military-installed authorities have often accused the group of funding and training militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Tuesday’s move to declare the Brotherhood a “terrorist” organisation will likely be seen as a further push by the interim authorities to isolate the movement ahead of the constitutional referendum.

Beblawi’s statement came just hours after a powerful car bomb tore through a police headquarters in the Egyptian city of Mansoura early Tuesday, killing at least 14 people, mostly policemen, said medics and officials.

Egyptian security sources said the explosion in the city, north of Cairo, was massive and a part of the building had caved in.

Medics said the bombing wounded more than 100 people.

The impact of the explosion was felt around 20 kilometres (12 miles) away and shattered windows of nearby buildings, the security sources said.

The head of security for Daqahleya, Sami El-Mihi, was wounded in the blast and two of his aides were killed, security sources said.

Blast near police HQ in Egypt’s Nile Delta kills at least 14

Fourteen people were killed and around 100 were injured in an explosion at a security building in Egypt’s northern province of Dakahlyia on Tuesday, according to security and health ministry sources. He added that police chief of the province General Sami al-Meihi was injured in the blast.

At least 14 people were killed and more than 100 hurt in an explosion at a security building in Egypt’s Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia on Tuesday, state media and a security source said.

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At least 14 killed, over 200 wounded in big blast in Egypt’s Nile Delta

65467At least 14 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in a massive explosion at a security compound in Egypt’s Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia on Tuesday, a month before a vote on a new constitution key

Cabinet spokesman Sherief Shawki blamed the blast on the Muslim Brotherhood group of former Islamist Ousted Mohamed Mursi, and said Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi had officially declared the group a terrorist organization.

34567A security source said the blast may have been caused by a car bomb, but it was not clear if it was suicide attack or not.

State TV said at least 14 people were killed and more than 200 hurt. It said the attack was the worst in the city’s history and two senior security officials were among the wounded.

Another security source it was still unclear what caused the explosion, “but it seems to be a big one that led to the collapse of parts of the security building”.

Suicide attacks on soldiers and policemen have sharply risen in Egypt since the army ousted Mursi in July amid mass unrest against his rule.

In overthrowing Mursi, the army set out a political roadmap supposed to start with a mid-January vote on a new constitution and to be followed by presidential and parliamentary votes.

The state-run Middle East News Agency quoted Beblawi as saying that those responsible for blast “will not escape punishment”.

CHAOS, BURNED CARS

Witnesses in Dakahlyia said many cars inside and outside the security compound were burned out and the entire city was in chaos as people were hurrying to hospitals to check on victims.

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Egypt’s Nile News TV cut into its late-night programming to urge people to go to hospitals to donate blood to the victims.

Most bomb attacks since Mursi’s overthrow have occurred in the Sinai region, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Around 200 soldiers have died in Sinai since July.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim survived a suicide car bomb attack targeting his convoy near his home in Cairo last September.

Egyptian media and many army and state officials have blamed all the violence on Mursi & Brotherhood

Mursi’s exit triggered a wave of  attacks on churches and police stations. around 100 policemen killed.

via At least 11 killed, over 100 wounded in big blast in Egypt’s Nile Delta | Reuters.

مصر- عشرات القتلى ومئات الجرحى بتفجير ارهابى استهدف مديرية امن الدقهليه

ارتفع عدد القتلى الذين سقطوا جراء الانفجار الذي هز محيط مديرية أمن الدقهلية في مدينة المنصورة، شمالي العاصمة المصرية، في وقت متأخر الاثنين إلى 14 شخصاً على الأقل، والعدد مرشح للارتفاع

وقال مصدر أمنى أن المحصلة الأولية للانفجار هي 14 قتيلاً ونحو 140 جريحاً نقلوا إلى مستشفيات الطوارئ والدولي وطلخا، من بينهم مدير أمن الدقهلية ومساعدوه، فيما أطلقت دعوات للتبرع بالدم، وطلب من الأطباء التوجه إلى المستشفيات للمساعدة في إنقاذ الجرحى والمصابين

وأشار إلى أن الانفجار، الذي نجم، بحسب مصدر أمني رفيع المستوى في المديرية، عن سيارة مفخخة أمام مبنى المديرية وتفجير آخر في الطوابق العليا من المبنى ألحق دماراً كبيراً في المبنى، الذي انهارت أجزاء منه، كما ألحق أضراراً واسعة بالمباني المجاورة، وتهشم العديد من سيارات الشرطة والسيارات الخاصة

34567وأكد المصدر أمنى في وقت لاحق أن سبب الانفجار هو “سيارة مفخخة كانت محمله بعشرات الكيلوغرامات من مادة “تي أن تي” شديدة الانفجار

وقال إنه تم إخلاء المنطقة المحيطة بمبنى المديرية كإجراء احترازي ويجري تمشيط المنطقة بحثاً عن وجود أجسام أخرى متفجرة، كما تم تشكيل فريق من المباحث الجنائية لكشف ملابسات الحادث

وأشار إلى أن حالة الاستنفار الأمني تشهدها حالياً جميع مديريات الأمن المصرية والأماكن الحيوية، والقوات الخاصة تدفع بعدد من قواتها لتعزيز وجودها في تلك المواقع

Turkish PM, cleric in war of words over graft scandal

Turkish riot police use water cannons against protesters during a demonstration against Turkey's ruling Ak Party (AKP) and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul

(Reuters) – A war of words escalated on Monday between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and a cleric with powerful influence in the police and judiciary, worsening political turmoil unleashed by a corruption scandal.

Turkey has been increasingly polarized since the arrest on graft charges last week of the head of state-run lender Halkbank and the sons of two government ministers.

Erdogan answered the arrests by sacking or reassigning the Istanbul police chief and some 70 other police officers.

The scandal and the government’s response have added to a febrile political atmosphere in the country, which saw unprecedented mass protests against Erdogan’s rule earlier this year.

Leftist protesters demonstrate against Turkey's ruling Ak Party and Prime Minister Erdogan in Ankara

The public has been riveted by the case, with news channels showing police footage of shoeboxes stuffed with millions of euros in cash allegedly found in homes of corruption suspects.

The lira currency hovered near a record low on Monday, hammered by the domestic political tension as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve‘s decision to cut back monetary stimulus.

In the latest rift, the government attracted unprecedented, open condemnation from Fethullah Gulen, whose Hizmet movement claims at least a million followers, including senior police and judges, and runs schools and charities across Turkey and abroad.

Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, lashed out against the government on Friday by praying that “God bring fire to their houses”. Erdogan shot back on Sunday with remarks that, while not naming Gulen directly, accused unnamed outsiders of “setting wicked and dark traps in our country, using their local pawns to disrupt Turkey’s unity and integrity.”

“We will go into (their) lairs and … expose those organizations within the state,” Erdogan said.

On Monday Gulen made clear he saw the prime minister’s remarks as an attack on his movement.

“Those who call Muslims ‘gangs’, ‘bandits’, ‘network’ and see them as gorillas, monkeys that have taken shelter in lairs – these are nothing but a reflection of decayed thinking and no wrong can be made right with them,” Gulen said in an audio recording posted on the Internet. “God sees who is in a lair.”

FIERY RHETORIC

Erdogan has won three elections in a row and has transformed Turkey by curbing the power of the secularist military establishment. Turkey has thrived economically under his leadership, but this year’s protests also revealed dissatisfaction among many Turks with what some see as an authoritarian streak. A decisive break with Gulen, a former ally, adds to the array of figures lined up against him.

College students march during a demonstration against Turkey's ruling Ak Party and PM Erdogan in Ankara

Cemal Usak, vice president of the Journalists and Writers Foundation, a group close to Gulen, described the movement’s actions as “a civil initiative that is strongly using its right to oppose some of the measures taken by the political authority, something unseen in Turkey in recent times.”

“I think the hardening of the prime minister’s language is unsound. I find it inappropriate that for the first time in our political history an opinion leader has been targeted,” he said.

After years of taking on top figures in the army, Erdogan’s response to the corruption scandal puts him at odds with the police and the judiciary.

At the weekend the government changed regulations for police, requiring officers to report evidence, investigations, arrests and complaints to commanding officers and prosecutors.

Halkbank has drawn criticism from Western governments in the past for enabling Turkish and Indian business with Iran, which is under U.S. and EU sanctions that Erdogan disapproves of.

The bank said on Monday its conduct had been entirely lawful. In the past it had helped facilitate purchases of Iranian natural gas in return for shipments of Turkish gold, but it said it halted that practice in June, before measures that would have barred that trade took effect.

“The source of the funds used in these transactions and the parties to this trade are open, transparent and traceable in the system,” Halkbank said in a stock exchange filing.

The row has weighed on the Turkish assets as investors fret the authorities could loosen fiscal policy to weather the political storm. Shares in Halkbank have lost about 20 percent of their value since news of the scandal broke on December 17.

Erdogan late on Sunday accused “enemies of Turkey” of trying to sabotage Halkbank, the second-biggest government bank.

“Who are you helping to benefit by damaging this bank? The money that Halkbank has lost because of these incidents is money lost by this country,” he said.

Breaking News : 13 killed, more than 150 hurt in explosion near security building in egypt’s nile delta

78090--CAIRO Tuesday, Dec 23, 2013 1:30 am

At least 13 people were killed and more than 150 hurt in an explosion at a security building in Egypt’s Nile Delta town of Dakahlyia on Tuesday, state media and a security source said.

“It is still unclear what caused the explosion, but it seems to be a big one that led to the collapse of parts of the security building in Dakahlyia and we are expecting many injuries and potential deaths,” the source said.

ايد مجند داخل سيارة شرطة بجوار المديريةAnother security source said the blast may have been caused by a car bomb, but it was not yet clear if it was suicide attack or not.

State TV said 13 people were killed and more than 150 hurt. It said two top security officials were among the injured.

34567Egypt’s Nile News TV cut into its late-night programming to urge people to go to hospitals to donate blood to the victims of the attack, which it described as the worst in the city’s history.

Attacks on soldiers and policemen have sharply risen in Egypt since the Egyptian army ousted Mohamed Mursi in July in the face of mass unrest against his rule.

Most of the attacks have occurred in the Sinai, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Around 200 soldiers have died in Sinai alone since Mursi’s ouster.