Egypt sets up national council to fight terrorism

Egyptian policemen check the bags of passengers at a security check point in Al Shohadaa "Martyrs" metro station, formerly know as "Mubarak", in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. Egypt has been reeling from terrorist attacks in the past months. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Updated 26 July 2017

Egypt sets up national council to fight terrorism

CAIRO: Egypt established a national council for combating terrorism on Wednesday, giving it broad authority to set policies aimed at “fighting extremism,” a presidential decree stated.
Egypt has been battling an Daesh-led insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers since 2013, though attacks have increasingly moved into the mainland in recent months.
After two deadly church bombings earlier this year claimed by Daesh that killed at least 44 people, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared a state of emergency and pledged to establish a national council that would root out extremism.
El-Sisi has sought to present himself as an indispensable bulwark against terrorism in the Middle East, but human rights activists say he has quashed freedoms and suppressed the political opposition since he was elected in 2014.
Wednesday’s decree established “The National Council to Confront Terrorism and Extremism aimed at mobilizing institutional and societal resources in order to curtail the causes of terrorism and treat its effects.”
The council is chaired by El-Sisi and includes the head of parliament, the prime minister, the head of Al-Azhar, and several ministers.
It is tasked with formulating a “comprehensive national strategy” to combat terrorism and “proposing amendments to existing legislation,” as well as creating job opportunities in areas with high levels of extremism and promoting moderate religious discourse, the decree stated.

Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

Updated 26 March 2019

Arab anger over ‘theft of occupied Golan Heights’

  • Israel seized part of the Golan during the 1967 Six-Day War, subsequently annexing it in 1981
  • US President Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019

JEDDAH: Arab states on Monday condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

The decision “does not change the area’s status” as illegally occupied territory, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

Breaking decades of international consensus, Trump signed a proclamation at the White House on Monday recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the border area that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. 

Syria said the decision was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

“Trump does not have the right or the legal authority to legitimize the occupation,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Opposition chief Nasr Al-Hariri said Trump’s decision would “lead to more violence and instability, and it will have negative effects on efforts to engineer peace in the region.”

Lebanon said the move “violates all the rules of international law” and “undermines any effort to reach a just peace.”

“The Golan Heights are Syrian Arab land, no decision can change this, and no country can revisit history by transferring ownership of land from one country to another,” the Foreign Ministry said.