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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rebels Kidnap, Free Libyan Prime Minister

In apparent reaction to a US raid targeting a Libyan citizen earlier this week, a group of unidentified gunmen kidnapped Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from his hotel in Tripoli this morning, and then released him hours later. At least one group has claimed responsibility but it’s yet unclear who kidnapped Zeidan. The Prime Minister was held for approximately six hours before he was released. Many Libyans have expressed anger when news spread that the Libyan government was aware of the plans for the American raid earlier this week, which captured alleged Al Qaeda member Abu Anas Al-Libi. One Libyan opposition group’s Facebook page claimed that they had seized the Prime Minister because they blamed him for “damage to the country’s sovereignty by foreign intelligence bodies.”

Proposed Cutback of US Aid to Egypt Alarms Israel

The Obama administration’s decision to slash US aid to Egypt has alarmed officials in Israel, who worry that cuts to Egypt’s aid package could have unforeseen consequences throughout the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly admonished the US, saying that Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt was “premised on American aid to Egypt.”According to the New York Times, Egypt and Israel’s relationship has grown closer since the military removed former president Mohamed Morsi and installed a new interim government.  In September, Tamarod – the Egyptian opposition group that organized the June 30 protests that led to Morsi’s removal – began a petition to reject US aid and to end its peace treaty with the Israel.

Car Bomb Kills Four in Northern Sinai

A car bomb attack at a security checkpoint in Egypt’s Northern Sinai peninsula killed three army recruits and one police recruit this morning, according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA. Four were injured in the explosion near the town of El-Arish.  According to state reports, this is the third attack this week in the volatile Northern Sinai area. While random violent attacks in the Sinai are becoming more and more common, the rest of Egypt is suffering from attacks as well. On Monday, unknown assailants attacked a satellite communication dish in Cairo’s wealthy Maadi district.

Popular Satirist Bassem Youssef to Return to Egyptian Television

Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef, who has been frequently compared to US comedian Jon Stewart because of his use of satire to skewer politicians, will return to Egyptian television screens at the end of October after a three-month break. Youssef’s nightly television show El Barnameg regularly attracts over 30 million viewers, and Time magazine listed him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2013. Youssef is known for frequently mocking former President Mohamed Morsi; during an interview over the summer, he said that it was “shameful and wrong for this type of program to disappear just because the regime has fallen, and we do not have a president who delivers speeches or [Islamist] channels that make mistakes.” The show is slated to start up again on October 25.

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