president mohamed morsy

Egypt declares state of emergency after church bombings

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi says a three-month state of emergency will be imposed after two bomb blasts killed dozens of worshippers in Coptic Christian churches. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group claimed responsibility for Sunday's suicide bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta, in which more than 40 people were killed. “A series of steps will be taken, most importantly, the announcement of a state of emergency for three months after legal and constitution steps are taken,” Sisi said in a speech aired on state television.  Sisi, who in 2013 led the overthrow of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced the measure after a national defence council meeting. Under Egypt’s constitution, the state of emergency must be presented to the House of Representatives for approval within a seven-day period. The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement. Egypt declared a state of emergency in the months that followed the military ouster of Morsi. Part of North Sinai, where ISIL’s Egyptian affiliate is based, is still under a state of emergency. Earlier on Sunday, a statement by the presidential office said that Sisi had ordered troops be deployed across the country to help secure “vital facilities”.

‘Tremendous security lapse’

The bombings were the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt’s Christian minority, who make up about 10 percent of the population and have been repeatedly targeted by armed groups. Samer Shehata, associate professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, told Al Jazeera the attacks show a “tremendous security lapse” by Egyptian authorities. READ MORE: Egypt’s Coptic Christians flee Sinai after killings “In the last few months, there has been an increased number of attacks on Egyptian Copts, individually, as well as on churches,” Shehata said, adding that the church in Tanta received a threat 10 days ago. “I do think this represents a lack of seriousness on the part of the state in really securing the Coptic community and places that could potentially be attacked.”

Anger, fear

In Tanta, as security forces cordoned off the church, residents who gathered nearby were unable to hide their anger. Despite the presence of metal detectors, the bomber was apparently able to enter the building without any hindrance. “How was the bomb able to enter, while police” were outside the church, asked Nagat Assaad, holding back tears. “What are the detectors for? We don’t want their protection,” he told the AFP news agency.There were similar scenes in second city Alexandria after the attack there. Several hours after the attack, a Coptic woman expressed her anger at police blocking access to the church. “What’s the use of closing the street now? You should have done it before the explosion!” she told AFP. A bombing at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49 in December, many of them women and children.
10 Egyptian soldiers killed in the Sinai - 24 March 2017

Ten members of Egypt’s military were killed on Thursday when their vehicles were hit by two improvised bombs during an operation against jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, the military said, according to Reuters.
Three officers and seven soldiers were killed, the military said in a statement, adding that its forces killed 15 people and arrested seven others during the raid, which it said targeted “highly dangerous terrorists” in the central Sinai area.
Two policemen, an officer and a conscript, were later killed in fighting near a police station in Arish, the capital of North Sinai province.
Egypt has been suffering from violent terrorist attacks in the Sinai since the January 2011 revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
The attacks increased after the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Most of the terrorist attacks in the Sinai have been claimed by the Sinai Province terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Among the attacks claimed by Sinai Province in recent years were the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the former military chief who led Morsi’s overthrow, describes Islamist militancy as an existential threat to Egypt.


NEWSHOUR ART BEAT: Muslim political cartoonist fights oppression with pen

Sudanese cartoonist Khalid Albaih was lauded as “an artist of the revolution” during the Arab Spring, and now he’s pointing his pencil at other world events.

Albaih’s work is on display in an exhibit called “It’s Not Funny” at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, until July 30. Art Beat interviewed him at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe in Washington, D.C., in May.

What do you believe is your role as a political cartoonist?

“It’s about education first. I want to tell people what’s going on. I read a lot and then hope to let people know what I think about what’s going on. The second thing is creating dialogue, asking questions. […]

The great thing about social media is people talk to each other. People from different parties talk to one another. A person from the Muslim brotherhood will engage with a communist, and down the thread they become friends. They talk to each other. This is what we need in the region, people to talk to each other rather than to talk with guns.”

Is there any amount of self-censorship before you deliver your message?

“I don’t think there is anything that is strictly off limits. I think you can talk about anything you want to talk about, but it depends how you talk about it.”

Do you think you’ve mastered that?

“Well, I’m not dead yet.”
First Arab Nobel science winner Ahmed Zewail dies
Egyptian-born Nobel-winning scientist Ahmed Zewail, who studied chemical reactions in ultra-short time scales, dies in the US aged 70.

The Egyptian-born Nobel-winning scientist Ahmed Zewail has died in the US, aged 70.

Mr Zewail won the Nobel chemistry prize in 1999 for his pioneering work in femtochemistry, the study of chemical reactions in ultra-short time scales.

A professor at the California Institute of Technology, he was a science advisor to President Obama and the first Arab scientist to win the Nobel Prize.

Mr Zewail became a naturalised American in 1982 after studying there.

No immediate cause of death was given.

In 40 years working at the the California Institute of Technology , he experimented with lasers to monitor chemical reactions at a scale of a femtosecond, which is a millionth of a billionth of a second.

He is also credited with developing a new research field dubbed four-dimensional electron microscopy, which helps capture fleeting processes and turn them into a kind of digital film.

Mr Zewail was appointed US science envoy to the Middle East, and became outspoken on political issues in his native country.

In 2014, he wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times that urged the US to avoid cutting aid to Egypt after a military coup that ousted the elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He argued that constructive engagement was important in keeping Egypt as a partner in the war on terrorism.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi expressed his condolences over the death, saying the country had lost a son and role model.

Why Are Journalists Being Imprisoned in Egypt?

Abdullah Elshamy, an Al Jazeera correspondent, has now been in prison for 175 days and on hunger strike for a little over two weeks.

“I’ve lost a number of pounds. I only rely on liquids. The littlest effort makes me feel dizzy,”he wrote in a letter smuggled out of his prison cell, where he isn’t allowed access to pens or paper. “But it’s what I feel compelled to do in order to raise awareness about the importance of freedom of speech.”

Abdullah—who was arrested during August last year when armed police violently cleared a sit-in by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi—is one of four Al Jazeera journalists in jail, all held on vague charges while prosecutors prepare formal proceedings. They are among the dozens of reporters in Egypt who have been beaten up or detained over the past six months. Nine more have been killed since the start of the uprising in 2011.

These arrests and many of the deaths are symptomatic of what the country has turned into since the army ousted the Muslim Brotherhood–affiliated Morsi last summer. Egypt’s interim government is doing everything in its power to silence Brotherhood sympathizers, crushing the country’s revolutionary street movements by issuing a law that effectively bans any form of public protest.  


A year later a monument honouring police and military stands in the same place where hundreds of civilians were massacred.

One year ago today, the world watched in horror as one the single bloodiest days in modern protest history took place in Cairo, Egypt.

On August 14, 2013 Egyptian security forces opened fire at a sit-in protest in Rabaa Al Adawiya Square, killing more than 800 people opposed to the ousting of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi. 

A few weeks earlier, the reign of Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, was cut short after only one year in power. Morsi’s ouster was announced on July 3 2013 by the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who later became the president of Egypt.

The Day More Than 800 Egyptian Protesters Died: One Year on Remembering the Horrific Raba'a Massacre