Supporters of Egypt presidential hopeful arrested, say security sources, family

In this file photo Egypt’s former prime minister Ahmed Shafik poses for a photo at his residence in Abu Dhabi February 6, 2013. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Supporters of Egypt presidential hopeful arrested, say security sources, family

CAIRO: Egyptian security forces have arrested three supporters of presidential hopeful and former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, security sources and members of his party said on Wednesday.
The men were charged with spreading false information harmful to national security, two security sources familiar with the incident said, on condition of anonymity.
Egypt’s interior ministry could not be reached for comment after several attempts to contact it on Wednesday.
Shafik announced last month his intention to run against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Egypt’s upcoming presidential election early next year. No date has been set for the vote.
The former premier and ex-air force commander is seen by Sissi’s critics as the most serious potential challenger to the incumbent. Those arrested were all members of Shafik’s Egyptian National Movement party.
One of them, Hany Fouad, was arrested at his family’s home on the outskirts of Cairo, his brother Wael Fouad said.
“Hany is very close to (Shafik),” he said.
Security forces entered the family home around 3 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) and searched the house, confiscating two mobile phones and giving no reason for the arrest, he said.
Sissi has yet to announce that he will seek a second term but is widely expected to do so.
Shafik made his announcement from the United Arab Emirates where he has lived in exile since 2012, when he fled Egypt after a narrow electoral defeat to former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was removed from office in a military takeover led by Sissi in 2013.
Shafik returned to Cairo ten days ago and said he was still deciding whether to run. He has not made any public appearances since.


Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

Updated 22 min 37 sec ago
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Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

  • Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached
  • The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” after months of increasing tensions

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A cease-fire announced by Hamas largely held Saturday after a wave of deadly strikes across the Palestinian enclave sparked by the death of an Israeli soldier shot near the border.
Israel did not confirm the deal announced by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, which went into effect around midnight Friday.
Since then there have been no reports of Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave or of mortar fire from Gaza toward Israel.
“With Egyptian and UN efforts, we reached (an agreement) to return to the previous state of calm between the (Israeli) occupation and the Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
He gave no details of the deal.
Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached.
“All we can say is that there have been no incidents or Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since the last wave of airstrikes on Friday night,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.
On Friday, three Hamas militants were killed as air raids sent fireballs exploding into the sky over Gaza, while Israel said rockets had been fired back at its territory. A fourth Palestinian was shot dead in protests near the border.
The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” after months of increasing tensions.
The soldier, shot dead along the border in southern Gaza, was the first to be killed in and around the Palestinian enclave since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Friday’s flare-up is the latest as demonstrations and clashes on the frontier since March have seen at least 149 Palestinians killed.
The Israeli army said they struck 60 Hamas sites including weapon manufacturing sites, a drone warehouse and a military operations room.
The cease-fire is the second since in a week.
Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since the 2014 war.