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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Egyptian Government Declares Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization

The Egyptian government has officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, following the bombing in the city of Mansoura two days ago which left 14 people dead. The government has continued to blame the attack on the party of the former president Mohamed Morsi, though the Brotherhood denies any responsibility for the attack and an extremist militant group – Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis – claimed responsibility yesterday. Because of the new designation, anyone who identifies as a Brotherhood member or partakes in activities (like protests) supporting the group may be be tried under the Egyptian penal code as a terrorist. After the declaration, Egyptian authorities arrested 16 Muslim Brotherhood supporters today in Sharkiya province.

Car Bomb in Cairo’s Nasr City Neighborhood

A bomb exploded on a public bus as it was passing through Cairo’s Nasr City neighborhood this morning, injuring five people. Another bomb which failed to explode was found near the first one, and was defused by security officials. No one has taken responsibility for the bus bomb yet, but the event comes two days after a giant explosion in the Nile delta city of Mansoura left 14 dead and over 130 injured.

 Hunger Strike in Tora Prison

Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel, three prominent rights activists who were sentenced to three years in prison and hard labor for their role in recent protests, started a hunger strike today, and denounced the conditions of the notorious prison where they were being held. One reason behind their decision was that the the prison personnel reportedly denied the activists winter clothing, which could be seriously detrimental to their health and possibly fatal. The activists called for prison inspections to investigate prisoners’ living conditions as well.

Top Pick for US Ambassador to Egypt Pulled from Running

Egypt has been without a permanent US Ambassador since Ann Patterson left her position at the end of August, and the top pick for the position – diplomat Robert Ford – was recently pulled, reportedly because the Egyptian government expressed disapproval of his willingness to engage in talks with militant groups in Syria. An anonymous source expounded upon the reason, telling Foreign Policy: “this is a man who is literally willing to sit across the table from Islamists who are worse than the Muslim Brotherhood, so it’s baffling the White House would think he’s the right person to go to Egypt.”

 Temporary Truce in Syrian Town

Bashar al-Assad’s government and members of the political opposition group the Free Syrian army have agreed to a temporary truce, to bring relief to residents of Moadamiya, a suburb of Damascus. Many of the town’s residents are near starving, as the government cut off all food supplies, and some have been forced to eat leaves to sustain themselves. Government forces have declared that they will let food shipments into the town in exchange for the Free Syrian Army’s heavy weaponery, like tanks.

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