Egypt deports German citizen over alleged terror suspicions

Egypt deported a German citizen early Friday whom it detained in Cairo airport last month on suspicion of plotting terrorism, authorities said. (AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019

Egypt deports German citizen over alleged terror suspicions

CAIRO: Two German-Egyptians have been detained as they entered Egypt on suspicion of links to extremist groups fighting an insurgency in Northern Sinai.

The men were stopped at separate airports last month, Egyptians security officials said.

Amr Mohamed Ezzat Abdel Aziz, 23, was detained on Dec. 27 while traveling with his brother at Cairo International Airport. He was released last Thursday and deported back to Germany, due to lack of criminal records.

Issa Mohammed Abdel Ghany Ibrahim Al-Sabagh, 18, was held on Dec. 17 at Luxor Airport. Germany said he is in Egyptian police custody.

Abdel Aziz and his brother were flying from Madinah in Saudi Arabia, where they study, to Cairo.

Their family were shocked that he was detained, saying Abdel Aziz was not politically active, according to German sources.

Egyptian authorities said they were notified that Abdel Aziz was intending on taking part in Daesh activities in Sinai, but they had no evidense or record of previous criminal activity and he was deported to Germany, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

Al-Sabbagh’s location has not been disclosed. Egyptian authorities said he was traveling to Egypt to see his grandfather. However , the authorities said they found he was carrying maps detailing North Sinai’s routes.

North and Central Sinai have been the scene of an extremist insurgency, which began in 2013.

Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

Updated 42 min 3 sec ago

Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

  • Turkish president has threatened to ‘send home in coffins’ visitors from Australia, New Zealand
  • Aussie and NZ leaders want Turkey to explain the ‘vile’ and ‘offensive’ remarks

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned on Wednesday for “vile, offensive and reckless” comments after last week’s Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

Australia summoned the Turkish ambassador in Canberra to explain the remarks, and New Zealand dispatched its foreign minister to Ankara to “set the record straight, face to face.”

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after he shot dead 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Erdogan, in election campaign rallies for his AK Party, urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the killer pay if New Zealand did not.

He said anti-Muslim Australians who came to Turkey would be “sent back in coffins, like their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” and he accused Australian and New Zealand forces of invading Turkey during the First World War “because it is Muslim land.”

But an international affairs scholar in Riyadh said Erdogan’s comments should not be taken as representative of Muslims. 

"He is a propagandist and an unpredictable politician,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “He keeps saying these things and then he issues an apology. Right now, he is making these incendiary comments to win elections.”

It was inappropriate behavior for a head of state, Al-Shehri said. “Which president would use such language and issue these kind of comments?”

In his speech, Erdogan said that the Gallipoli peninsula campaign in 1915 was in fact an attempt by British colonial forces to relieve their Russian allies. The attack was a military disaster, and more than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand forces were killed. Thousands of people from both countries travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services, and the anniversary is marked on Anzac Day every April 25.

“Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after summoning the Turkish ambassador and dismissing the “excuses” offered.

“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn.” Morrison described claims about Australia and New Zealand’s response to the white supremacist attack as “vile.” He accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to forge peace between the two countries.

A memorial at Gallipoli carries Ataturk’s words: “There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets ... after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern nation and an embracing nation, and I think these comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her deputy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters, would travel to Turkey to seek clarification of Erdogan’s comments. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said.