By Ahmed Goher
ACTIVIST SHAIMAA EL-SABAGH SHOT WHILE COMMEMORATING JANUARY 25 REVOLUTION
Shaimaa El-Sabagh, a workers’ rights activist and a member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party in Alexandria, was shot dead at a march commemorating the January 25 Revolution in Downtown Cairo on January 24, raising massive controversy as her fellow marchers accused the police of gunning her down.
FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF JANUARY 25 REVOLUTION MARRED BY VIOLENCE
Relatively calmer than the previous year’s anniversary, January 25 still saw its fair share of violence as the country marked the fourth anniversary of the 2011 revolution that led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. According to the Ministry of Health and Housing, at least 23 people, including at least three police officers, died in clashes and protests over the holiday weekend.
NEW TRIAL FOR AL JAZEERA ENGLISH JOURNALISTS
On January 1, the Court of Cassation ordered a retrial for the Al-Jazeera English journalists sentenced to prison for spreading false news and working with the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The original trial and guilty verdict drew international criticism as an attack on press freedom.
On January 5, the tomb of previously unknown Queen Khentakawess III was discovered in Abu-Sir, southwest of Cairo. Queen Khentakawess III is thought to be the wife or mother of Pharaoh Neferefre who ruled 4,500 years ago.
LEGENDARY ACTRESS FATEN HAMAMA DIES
Egyptian actress Faten Hamama died on January 17 at the age of 84. Hamama was one of Egypt’s most prominent actresses during the 1950s and 1970s, having acted in a number of TV shows and films.
Mubarak’s sons Gamal and Alaa were released from prison on January 26, after
serving the maximum pre-trial detention period of 18 days. The pair face a retrial on corruption charges. Their release came one day after the fourth anniversary of January 25, which culminated in the 2011 revolution that saw their father step down from power.
VIOLENCE ESCALATES IN NORTH SINAI
A series of violent attacks in North Sinai killed at least 30 and injured over 100 on January 29, according to state media. The scope and size of the attacks were unprecedented, taking place at 10 military facilities in Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah. Terror group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement released on January 30. In the statement, Maqdis claimed to have killed hundreds of people; however, the Egyptian government claims that the number is much lower.
21 EGYPTIAN CHRISTIANS BEHEADED BY ISLAMIC STATE IN LIBYA
Terror group ISIS released a video on February 15 depicting the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, sparking outrage and furthering Cairo’s concern over terrorism both in Egypt and in its neighboring country. On February 16, a day after the video went viral, Egyptian jets, assisted by Libya’s air force, bombed what they believed were Islamic State sites along Libya’s eastern coast, killing around 64 millitants per reports by the Libyan military.
DOZENS DIE IN FOOTBALL VIOLENCE OUTSIDE AIR FORCE STADIUM
A stampede killed dozens of football fans outside the Air Force Stadium on February 8. Over two people were killed as fans tried to enter the stadium to watch a match between Zamalek and Enppi, which led to the police’s use of tear gas to calm the overzealous crowd. In an attempt to escape the tear gas, a stampede broke out, which led to the majority of fatalities. According to the government, family members of the fans who were killed outside the match were offered LE 25,000 (U.S. $ 3,280) in compensation for their loss.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN VISITS CAIRO
Putin arrived in Cairo on February 9 on a two-day visit to Egypt, his first visit to the country in over 10 years. Banners and posters bearing Putin’s face were placed along Cairo’s busiest streets to welcome the Russian leader, who met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to discuss bilateral relations and trade.
AJE JOURNALISTS RELEASED, RETRIAL POSTPONED
Australian journalist Peter Greste, one of the journalists involved in the Al Jazeera English trial, was pardoned by President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and released on February 1. Following his release, Greste immediately boarded a plane bound for his home country. Two weeks after Greste’s release, on February 13, two other journalists involved in the trial, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were released pending a retrial.
PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON TERRORISM LAW
Sisi issued a new decree concerning Law No. 8 on the organization of terrorist entities on February 24. The law, made up 10 articles, defines a “terrorist entity” and a “terrorist person,” and tackles the source of money, financing and the freezing of funds belonging to terrorists. The other articles specify the authorities tasked with drawing up a list of terrorist entities and the parties entitled to appeal their listing. Controversy ensued as activists feared the law would allow the authorities to label most opposition groups and human rights organizations as terrorist entities.
NEW CAPITAL CITY PROJECT ANNOUNCED
A press conference on March 13 announced a massive plan by the Egyptian government to build what’s being called the new capital city. The new capital city, which would be built in a corridor between Cairo and the Red Sea, promises to be a ‘smart city’ and a ‘city for Egypt’s future,’ aiming to boost employment statistics and alleviate the overpopulated centers of Downtown and elsewhere in Cairo. While the government promised to complete the city’s development over the next 12 years, the announcement was met with skepticism by many.
EGYPT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE HELD IN SHARM EL-SHEIKH
Egypt held a heavily publicized Economic Development Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh on March 13-15. The conference was attended by over 1,700 investors, government officials and experts, including high profile names like Tony Blair and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. During the first two days of the conference Egypt signed investment deals worth more than $138 billion and the countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates promised to donate an additional $12 million to help stabilize the country’s economy.
TWO STUDENTS DIE IN SEPARATE TRAGEDIES
Within the same week, two students died in Cairo in separate tragedies. On March 8, a fifth grade student died after succumbing to injuries sustained after a schoolteacher beat the student. In a separate incident, 19-year-old Yara Tarek Negm was killed near the German University in Cairo after being hit by a bus.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGNERS TRAVELING TO EGYPT AMENDED
On March 17, reports circulated that foreigners will no longer be able to obtain a visa from Cairo International Airport upon arrival. Starting May 15, foreigners must obtain visas from embassies and consulates prior to their arrival in Cairo. Only foreigners on organized trips will be exempt from the rule, as their tour groups can organize visas for them.
EGYPTIAN FOOTBALL PLAYER SELECTED FOR UEFA’S EUROPE LEAGUE
Twenty-two year old Egyptian football star Mohamed Salah was selected for UEFA’s Europa League, media outlets reported on March 21. Previously, Salah was with Italy’s Fiorentina, on loan from Premier League giants Chelsea FC.
MORTADA MANSOUR SENTENCED TO JAIL
Zamalek Club Chairman and former presidential candidate Mortada Mansour was sentenced to one year in prison on March 21. Mansour was convicted for insulting a lawyer who represents the Ultras White Knights, Tarek El-Awady.
Egypt’s interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, was replaced as part of a cabinet reshuffle on March 5, which also saw new ministers appointed to the ministries of tourism, education and agriculture. Ibrahim, who was an officer in the Ministry of Interior under former President Mubarak and was appointed to the position by former President Morsi, was replaced by Maj. Gen. Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar.
MUBARAK-ERA INTERIOR MINISTER ACQUITTED
Former Mubarak-era Interior Minister Habib El-Adly was acquited on March 19. El-Adly was acquitted of corruption charges that claimed he used political influence to obtain illicit gains amounting to LE 181 million.
PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT OVER NILE RIVER
A preliminary agreement on March 22 in Khartoum was signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to end the crisis over the Nile River. The declaration of principles focused on the controversy surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and intended to be a promise by the leaders of all three countries that they will come to a peaceful resolution.
EGYPT SUPREME COURT BOMBED
A bomb exploded outside the Egyptian Supreme Court on March 3, killing two people and wounding nine according to the Ministry of Health. Included in the injured were seven police officers. Two other bombs went off in Cairo the same say, one outside a fire station and another outside a police station.
MORSI SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON
Former President Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison on April 21 over the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012. The verdict was the first in a series of cases that have been brought against the deposed president since his removal from power on July 3, 2013. Morsi and 14 other defendants were acquitted of a murder charge that would have seen them face the death penalty. The other defendants, all Muslim Brotherhood members or people from his administration, include Mohamed El-Beltagy and Essam El-Erian.
EGYPT ENTERS INTO YEMEN CONFLICT
A brewing conflict in Yemen between the Houthis and Armed Forces saw its neighbors get involved in early April, including Egypt. A ten-member Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict, led by Saudi Arabia, in Operation Decisive Storm. Although Egypt originally denied that it would get involved, it later promised to contribute naval and air forces, adding that it would contribute ground forces if necessary.
Renowned Egyptian poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi died April 21 at the age of 76, after having underwent brain surgery at a Cairo hospital just days earlier. The leftist poet, whose fans called him “uncle,” rose to fame in the 1960s for his poems, some performed by legendary Arab singer Abdel Halim Hafez. Sisi and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab offered
their condolences to Abnudi’s family.
EGYPTIAN COMPLETES GRAND SLAM
Egyptian explorer Omar Samra completed the Adventurers Grand Slam. Samra became the first Egyptian to complete the Grand Slam after successfully reaching the North Pole on April 21.
SINAI GROUP PLACED ON TERROR LIST
Sinai-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, also known as Walayat al-Sinai, was placed on Egypt’s terrorist list on April 16 by Egypt’s Criminal Court.
NEW VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGNERS TRAVELING TO EGYPT SUSPENDED
Egypt’s decision to cancel on-arrival visas was suspended in April. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry announced in March that it would suspend on-arrival visas at the airport on May 15, making it mandatory to obtain visas from embassies prior to arrival.
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME CANCELLED
The Egyptian Cabinet announced on April 20 that Egyptians would not be switching their clocks for daylight saving time and may cancel the practice altogether.
EGYPTIAN DIRECTOR EXECUTED IN LIBYA
Egyptian director Mohamed Galal Okasha was killed in April after being kidnapped in Libya in August 2014. Okasha was working at Libya TV station Barqa at the time of his kidnapping.
EGYPTIAN ACTIVIST MAHINOUR EL-MASRY ARRESTED AND SENTENCED TO PRISON
Egyptian activist and human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Masry and Journalist Youssef Shaaban were arrested on May 11 over “storming” a police station in 2013 during the reign of Islamist President Morsi. An Alexandria court sentenced her, Shaaban and activist Loay
El-Ahwagy to one year and three months in prison on May 31.
FOOTBALL STAR ABU TRIKA’S ASSETS FROZEN FOR ‘TERRORIST AFFILIATION’
Retired football player Mohamed Abu Trika’s assets were frozen on May 8 according to the government. The government committee tasked with confiscating
Muslim Brotherhood assets announced the confiscation of properties belonging to tourism
company Asshab Tours, which the former Al-Ahly and national team player has shares, noting that it financed terrorism, and also froze all of Abu Trika’s bank accounts.
JUSTICE MINISTER RESIGNS, REPLACED BY AL-ZEND
Judge Ahmed Al-Zind was sworn in as the new justice minister on May 20, replacing his predecessor, Mahfouz Saber, who had resigned on May 11 over public outrage due to comments he made on TV that rubbish collectors’ sons are unfit to occupy the position of judge.
SIX EXECUTED IN ARAB SHARKAS CASE
Six people were executed on May 17 after being sentenced to death in October 2014 in a military trial, known as the Arab Sharkas case, for belonging to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and carrying out attacks against military forces.
TV PRESENTER ISLAM EL-BEHEIRY SENTENCED TO PRISON
The Cairo Misdemeanor Court sentenced controversial TV presenter Islam el-Beheiry on May 31 to five years in prison for defaming Islam during his daily show “With Islam” on private TV channel Al Kahera Wal Nas.
COMEDY LEGEND HASSAN MOSTAFA PASSES AWAY
Beloved Egyptian stage and screen actor Hassan Mostafa, one of the funniest men in Egyptian cinema, passed away on May 19 at the age of 81.
TV PRESENTER ISLAM EL-BEHEIRY ACQUITTED
Egyptian TV presenter Islam El-Beheiry was acquitted June 24 of charges of blasphemy by a Giza misdemeanors court.
GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO COLLECT DONATIONS FOR SUEZ CANAL CELEBRATION
In June, the government announced a campaign to collect donations to hold a giant celebration of the inauguration of the New Suez Canal Project. Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish stressed that the State’s coffers would not bear the approximately USD $30 million needed for the celebrations and that this would be financed through donations to a fund.
MORSI EXECUTION UPHELD
Former President Morsi’s death sentence in the prison break case was upheld on June 16. Appearing wearing the infamous red execution garb, Morsi continued to appear in court throughout the month of June to be tried on espionage charges. The court ruling caused
an eruption of controversy, with some decrying the sentence as unjust and others arguing it should have come much sooner.
SISI GOES TO GERMANY
Sisi travelled to Germany June 3 in an effort to enhance relations between the two countries.
While Egypt earned sizable investments through the visit, the trip was not controversy-free. Brotherhood supporters awaited Sisi’s arrival by holding protests in the German capital, denouncing him and his regime. Meanwhile, Sisi’s supporters staged their own demonstrations to support the president in Germany.
SHAFIQ RESIGNS FROM NATIONAL MOVEMENT PARTY
Former Minister of Civil Aviation Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak,
submitted his resignation to the National Movement Party on June 14, which he founded, citing his presence outside of the country (in the UAE) as a reason for him not being able to carry out his duties. The party rejected the resignation and launched a media campaign in his
support. The postponement of a two-episode interview with Shafiq on Al Assema TV channel further fueled the controversy, as it was claimed that the State banned the airing of the interview when Shafiq threatened security forces with incriminating documents were he not allowed to return to the country to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Sisi on June 17 pardoned 165 individuals sentenced in cases related to breaching the protest law and other misdemeanors on the occasion of Ramadan.
GENERAL PROSECUTOR HISHAM BARAKAT ASSASSINATED
On June 29, Egyptian General Prosecutor Hisham Barakat was assassinated after a car bomb targeting his convoy in Cairo was detonated. Ansay Bayt al-Maqdis assumed responsibility for the attack.
WAR ON TERROR RAGES ON
As Egypt continued its third year of the war on terror, terrorist organizations targeting military forces in Sinai and civilian targets in Cairo stepped up their game. In early July, hundreds of militants conducted synchronized attacks against army checkpoints in North Sinai, and while foreign media were quick to announce heavy casualties among army soldiers, it was later revealed that most of casualties were on the side of the attacking militants, as per the military. The Italian consulate in Downtown Cairo was also bombed in July 11. Sinai-based Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis released statements taking responsibility for the first attacks while ISIS itself released a statement taking responsibility for the consulate’s bombing.
NEW BUDGET RELEASED
Egypt’s new state budget was released on July 2, later than usual and with little societal discussion prior to its publication, which drew the ire of many. Nevertheless, views were somewhat divided, with some praising strong points in the budget, such as reduction of the deficit, and others lamenting the rising national debt. Of particular notice, spending on supporting the export sector saw the most remarkable increase in this year’s budget, jumping by 98% compared to last year, while health and education increased by only 21.5% and 8.3% respectively.
PRESIDENT ISSUES CONTROVERSIAL LEGISLATION
With the People’s Assembly still unseated, Sisi took it upon himself in July to issue a series of controversial legislation to fill in the legislative gap that has afflicted the country for the past three years. The most controversial is an anti-terrorism law proposed by the government, which was met with outrage by local journalists, who frowned on the idea that they could be sent to jail for publishing data that differs from that provided by government sources (the sentence for the crime was later reduced to a fine of LE 250,000 to 5000,000 with no jail time). Another law gives the president the authority to depose the heads of supervisory bodies if they “harm national security” or fail to carry out their duties, which many speculate was aimed at head of the Central Auditing Organization Hesham Geneina, who recently accused the Interior Ministry, the Judges Club and the General Prosecution of corruption. The third law authorizesdthe Ministries of Defense and Interior, and the General Intelligence Agency to found security companies that provide services of protection of facilities and/or money transport.
MEDIA FIGURES SENTENCED TO JAIL
Editor in chief of the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper and TV host on satellite TV channel CBC Extra Magdy el-Gallad, CBC owner Mohamed El-Amin and a writer for the show, Wael Saad, were sentenced by the Cairo Misdemeanor Court to six months in jail for broadcasting “false news” on the squandering of public funds.
SISI RATIFIES PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS LAW
On July 9, Sisi ratified the parliamentary election law, paving the path for finally holding long delayed parliamentary elections.
MUBARAK-ERA PRIME MINISTER AHMED NAZIF SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON
Former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was sentenced to prison on July 22 on charges of corruption and illicit profiteering. The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Nazif to five years imprisonment, and slapped him with a fine of LE 53, 353,130, also ordering him to return the sum of LE 48, 610,000 to the State.
SIX SENTENCED TO PRISON IN AL JAZEERA RETRIAL CASE
Al-Jazeera’s Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy, Australian Peter Greste,and Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed, who were detained in December 2013, were all found guilty of aiding a terrorist group (the Muslim Brotherhood) and sentenced to three years in jail. Judge Hassan Farid ruled that Fahmy and Mohamed were not journalists and not members of the Journalists Syndicate and therefore did not enjoy the protection journalists are afforded in Egypt. The ruling sparked heavy controversy both inside and outside Egypt, with several Western governments — including the United States, Canada and Britain — and local activists condemning the ruling as a politicized attack against free speech.
EGYPT MILITARY AIRCRAFT CRASHES
An Egyptian military aircraft crashed near the Libyan border on August 13 during a raid against Islamist militants, killing four people and injuring another two. A statement by the military said the crash, which occurred over Marsa Matrouh, was due to a “technical fault.”
MUBARAK-ERA INTERIOR MINISTER IN COURT
Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and 12 of his colleagues were arrested on charges of squandering public funds during their time in office, on August 3. The officials were accused of illicitly signing over bonuses to police officers and ministry figures during a period spanning from 2000 to 2011, worth LE 1.8 billion in state funds.
NEW SUEZ CANAL CELEBRATIONS
Egypt opened an expansion to the Suez Canal on August 6 with a huge multi-million pound celebration. World leaders, including officials from Arab nations such as King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Western countries such as French President Francois Hollande, attended the event.
EGYPT MISTAKENLY BOMBS MEXICAN TOURISTS
Security forces in Egypt killed 12 people, including eight Mexican tourists, on September 14. Ten Mexican tourists were also injured. Egypt’s interior ministry said four vehicles in which the tourists were travelling were “mistakenly dealt with” in a joint military police and armed forces operation in the Wahat area of the Western Desert. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned the incident and called on Egypt to investigate the incident.
GOVERNMENT DISSOLVES 57 NGOS FOR BROTHERHOOD LINKS
On September 7, Social Security Minister Ghada Wali announced that 57 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were dissolved for alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood, per a court ruling banning the Brotherhood and ordering its funds to be seized.
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE ARRESTED
Just moments after submitting his resignation to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture Salah Helal was arrested September 7 on charges of corruption. The resignation came “per the instructions of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi,” according to a statement by the Cabinet, and Helal was charged with corruption and receiving bribes including, according to the Public Prosecution, a villa in 6th of October City to the
tune of LE 8.25 million, membership at a famous sports and social club in Cairo worth LE 140,000, clothes costing LE 230,000 and an all-expense-paid pilgrimage to Mecca for 16 of his family members.
MAHLAB’S CABINET RESIGNS
Ibrahim Mahlab’s Cabinet submitted its resignation on September 12 amid the scandal of the Ministry of Agriculture corruption case. President Al-Sisi instructed Sherif Ismail, then minister of petroleum, to form a new cabinet as prime minister within a week.
MASSIVE GAS FIELD DISCOVERED
As the nation continued to grapple with its energy woes, Egyptians finally received some positive news: Italy’s Eni discovered a massive gas field (at least 30 trillion cubic feet of gas) that could translate into around $48 billion of revenue for the government after Eni’s share is accounted for. The field, named Shorouk, lies off of Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. It is pegged to see investments worth $6 billion to $10 billion for its development and is expected to satisfy Egypt’s domestic demand for gas for at least the coming decade.
CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOLGIRL RECEIVES ZERO ON SECONDARY SCHOOL EXAMS
Mariam Malak aka “Zero schoolgirl” dominated headlines for days in September and quickly became a symbol of anti-corruption after she received a zero on her secondary school examinations. Malak, who had been top of her class for years, and her lawyers, claimed that her exam was intentionally switched with one written by a child of wealthy, well-connected
parents. Her case gathered massive attention both inside and outside of Egypt, with tens of thousands of social media users spreading her cause.
SISI TOURS RUSSIA AND ASIA
Making good on his promise to diversify Egypt’s relations internationally, President Al-Sisi in late August and early September embarked on tours to Russia and Asia, visiting Singapore, China and Indonesia and meeting Russian President Putin, Singaporean President Tony Tan and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minster Li Keqiang, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
FIRST ROUND OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
The first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections were held in October in 14 out of Egypt’s 27 governorates with disappointing turnout rates. Many parties chose to boycott the elections due to what they perceived as an antagonistic political scene. Media outlets reported a minuscule 2% turnout rate on the first day of voting. The next day, the government decided to give state employees a half day off work and encouraged the private sector to facilitate voting for employees. Rumors of a LE 500 pound fine for not voting also failed to draw in bigger numbers at the polling stations.
EGYPT SECURES WORLD BANK LOAN AMID CURRENCY DEVALUATION
Egypt was able to secure a $3 billion loan from the World Bank in October. Egypt’s Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian announced the news a week after the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meeting in Lima, Peru. According to the Central Bank of Egypt, the reserves declined to $16.334 billion, compared to $18.096 billion in August, reaching around half of the $36 billion Egypt’s coffers enjoyed before 2011. The country also depreciated its currency more than twice.
EGYPT WINS NON-PERMANENT SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
Egypt won a two-year, non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in October, with 179 of the 193 UN member states voting in favor of its membership. Africa is traditionally allocated two non-permanent seats on the council. Senegal won the second seat with 187 votes.
TV HOST ENTISAR ARRESTED
TV host and actress Entisar was arrested and put under investigation in October after claiming on her show, which aired on Al-Qahira Wal-Nas TV channel, “Most Egyptian men know nothing about how to have a real sexual encounter, therefore they must watch porn to learn how to act during their first time.”
NOVELIST GAMAL EL-GHITIANI PASSES AWAY
Acclaimed Egyptian novelist Gamal El-Ghitiani passed away on October 18 at the Galaa Hospital for Armed Forces Officers Families in Cairo after slipping into a comma. He was 70.
RUSSIAN PLANE CRASHES NEAR SHARM
Russian Metrojet flight 9268 crashed on October 31, following its departure from Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board. Terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the crash. The incident gained heavy media attention worldwide and hit Egypt’s vital tourism industry at a peak season, with a number of countries, including Russia and the UK, evacuating tourists from the resort and suspending flights over Sinai. Russia banned all Egypt Air planes from flying in and out of Russia. On November 17, Russian authorities announced the jet had been brought down by a bomb with the force of a kilogram of explosives and detonated using a soft drink can planted under a seat. The Russian government also announced it is offering a $50 million reward for information.
EGYPT CITIES FLOOD
With winter at the door steps, rain water flooded Beheira, North Sinai, and Alexandria. While Cairo did not have it as bad as the other three areas, the rain did bring traffic to a standstill in the country’s capital. In North Sinai, Alexandria and Beheria various homes were destroyed while tens were injured and died. Amid ongoing public outrage at the deplorable state of Alexandria’s infrastructure, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail accepted the resignation of Hani El-Mesery, the governor of Alexandria, on October 25.
SECOND ROUND OF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
The second round of parliamentary elections took place in 13 governorates on
November 22 and 23. Parties and candidates campaigned for the second stage of the parliamentary elections between 2 and 20 November. The elections were generally more competitive than the first round, as they included Cairo and other densely populated governorates in the Nile Delta.
JOURNALIST HOSSAM BAHGAT DETAINED
Mada Masr Journalist Hossam Bahgat was detained by military intelligence and
interrogated by military prosecution on November 7. Bahgat was accused of violating articles 102 and 188 of the Egyptian penal code, which deal with deliberately broadcasting false information that disturbs public security, incites public panic and harms the public interest, and falsely attributing sources or involuntarily disseminating false information or forged documents that disturb public order, incite public panic and harm the public interest. After local and international outcry, Bahgat was released November 10 after signing a document stating that he “will abide by legal and security procedures when publishing material pertaining to the Armed Forces.”
EGYPTIANS KILLED IN PARIS ATTACKS
Six coordinated attacks left 130 dead in a night of terror in Paris. President Francois Hollande declared the attacks an act of war and promptly launched an international manhunt for escaped perpetrators. ISIS claimed responsibility for masterminding the terrorist plot.
Among the victims were Egyptian Saleh Al-Jabali, 28, and French-Egyptian Lamia Mondegeur, 30. Waleed Abdel Razek was branded one of the killers when his passport was found at the Bataclan Theater where the deadliest attack took place, but it later transpired he was one of the injured and at press time he was being treated in hospital.
ISIS BOMBS ARISH HOTEL
Two suicide bombers and a gunman attacked a hotel in Arish, Sinai, targeting judges who were supervising the parliamentary elections. At press time seven people had been killed.