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Monday, October 7, 2013

Bloody Day of Clashes between Protesters, Army Leaves Over 50 Dead

Over 50 people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes yesterday in Cairo and other cities, as thousands of anti military protesters took to the streets to express their dissent with the military-backed government on national Armed Forces Day. Pro military demonstrators and army and police officers fought with Morsi supporters who were trying to march to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Cairo’s 2011 uprising. Meanwhile, almost constant gunfire could be heard in the quiet middle-class neighborhood of Dokki, as security forces tried to disperse protesters. At least two journalists were attacked and arrested. The army reportedly used tear gas and live ammunition on protesters, some of whom responded with Molotov cocktails. Sunday was the bloodiest day Egypt has seen since Egyptian security forces violently dispersed pro Morsi protest encampments in mid-August.

Three Attacks After Sunday’s Clashes

The violence continued Monday as unknown assailants launched three attacks in different parts of the country. Armed gunmen attacked an army patrol in the Suez Canal area, killing four; a car bomb exploded in Al-Tor, a town in the Sinai Peninsula, killing two and injuring 48 people; and men armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) attacked a telecom station in Cairo’s wealthy Maadi neighborhood. The attacks are worrisome, as many fear a return to Egypt’s political climate of the 1990s, when Islamist groups launched frequent attacks like bombings and kidnappings throughout the country.

Canadians Released from Egyptian Prison, but Not Allowed to Leave Country

A Canadian doctor and filmmaker, John Greyson and Tarek Loubani, were released Sunday from Tora prison south of Cairo after they were arrested in mid-August and detained without charge for over two months.  While in prison, the two went on a hunger strike and wrote letters about the abysmal conditions of the prison. They were informally accused of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to attack a police station, but were never charged with any crimes. When they attempted to leave Egypt on a plane bound for Frankfurt yesterday, they were stopped at the airport and told that they were not allowed to fly out of the country, because their names appeared on a no-fly list.

Egypt Releases Secret Documents from Israeli War Period

Upending a publishing ban on modern war documents, Egypt’s National Archive plans to make available to the public secret documents that cover the period between June 5, 1967 and the end of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, known as the October War or Yom Kippur War. One reason is that most of the existing historical documents relating to Egypt’s role in these conflicts come from American, British or Israeli sources, and fail to represent the Egyptian viewpoint, according to Khaled Fahmy, a history professor at the American University in Cairo. “A quick look at the bibliographies of history books on the October War shows none of them depend on Egyptian sources, except for memoirs of retired generals – this is a disaster,” he said. According to Al Ahram, the documents will be published in a book entitled Egypt in the Heart of the Battle.

US Operations in Libya and Somalia Yield Mixed Results

The US launched two secret raids in Africa this weekend, one successful, one not. Army commandos seized an alleged Al Qaeda member  outside his home in Libya, who they believe to be responsible for planning attacks and bombings against US citizens and embassies in East Africa. The US army is currently holding Abu Anas al-Libi on a naval ship outside of Tripoli. Libya’s government has condemned the move by the US as a kidnapping, and lawmakers threatened the Libyan prime minister, saying that they would remove him if it became apparent that he coordinated the attack with the US. The second raid, which took place in Somalia, was aborted after the Navy Seal team responsible for capturing the terror suspect came under gunfire.

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