Egypt army drill ‘sends a message to Erdogan’

Egyptian tanks fire at targets during a recent military exercise. (Still image from a YouTube video)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Egypt army drill ‘sends a message to Erdogan’

  • Military exercise near Libyan border a ‘warning shot,’ experts say

CAIRO: A major Egyptian army exercise near the border with Libya is being viewed by military and strategic experts as a message of deterrence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his backing for the Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and supported by militia groups.

The combat exercise, codenamed “Hasm 2020” (Firmness 2020), was carried out by Egypt’s Western Region units together with armed forces formations and special troops, including paratroops and SEAL teams.

The drills included strategic incursions by land forces and land-sea operations by troops in coastal areas of the Western Region near the border with Libya. Other exercises focused on the threat from mercenary or terror groups.

Air defense and artillery maneuvers were also carried out during the exercises, which lasted several days. 

African affairs and national security expert Gen. Mohammed Abdel-Wahed said the Hasm 2020 exercise “carries many internal and external messages of assurance to our brothers in Libya and deterrence to some regional parties.”

The drill “was a message of deterrence to anyone who thinks he can threaten Egyptian national security” and “a simulation of war,” he added.

According to an army statement, the drill’s main phase was attended by Egyptian Minister of Defense Mohamed Zaki, and included live artillery and weapons fire.

Strategic expert Gen. Samir Farag said: “What happened was not an ordinary drill because the forces attacked mercenaries. Our army always fights a regular army. What is different about this drill is training to combat mercenaries. One of the training tasks is to carry out attacks to eliminate mercenaries in cooperation with the air force.”

Farag said the drill “is a message that we will operate on the coasts if they are under threat.”

He said the Egyptian air force succeeded in providing air supplies, “meaning that we have forces capable of going anywhere.”

Farag said that the Western Region had been carefully selected as a location for the exercises.

“We closely monitor any drill carried out by any of our enemies,” he said, adding that Hasm 2020 had been studied and followed up by some countries in the region. 

Egyptian MP and journalist Mustafa Bakry said that “every Egyptian should be proud of their armed forces and their extensive preparation to counter any attack on Egypt or threaten its national security.”

Bakry said that Hasm 2020 sent “a clear message to anyone who attempts to threaten Egypt or its people.”

The Libyan cities of Sirte and Al-Jufra are a red line, he said, adding that “Egypt will never leave Libya and its brotherly people as an easy prey to the Turkish invader.”


Lebanon extradites three accused of rape in Egypt

Updated 26 September 2020

Lebanon extradites three accused of rape in Egypt

  • The public prosecution confronted the defendants with film evidence of their crimes and a statement from the victim
  • The case dates back to 2014, but became public at the end of July 2020

CAIRO: Lebanese authorities have handed over three of the accused in the case of the gang rape of a young woman in a hotel in Cairo, known as the Fairmont incident, to the Egyptian authorities.
A statement by Egypt’s public prosecution stated that it had received a message from Interpol to arrest the fugitive suspects for the attack on an 18-year-old woman at the Fairmont Nile City hotel in Cairo in 2014.
The public prosecution confronted the defendants with film evidence of their crimes and a statement from the victim. The public prosecution asked the defendants about how the crime occurred and the role of each of them, as well as interrogating them about the method of their escape to Lebanon.
After Amr Hafez and Amir Zayed were arrested for a similar incident, the public prosecution investigated six other defendants.
Among the defendants was Nazli Karim, daughter of the actress Noha Al-Amrousy, and Ahmed Al-Ganzouri, the organizer of the Fairmont hotel party on the night of the crime.
At the end of last month, the Lebanese National News Agency announced that the Internal Security Forces Directorate received a letter from Egyptian Interpol containing the names of seven Egyptian citizens accused of raping a woman who were in Lebanon.
After investigation, it was found that five of the accused had visited Lebanese territory, two of them had left, and three were still in Lebanon.
The Lebanese agency added that the defendants left the hotels without their bags in what appeared to be an attempt to escape the Lebanese security forces, who raided their place and arrested them in the town of Fatqa, 30 km northeast of Beirut, on Aug. 28.
Earlier, the Egyptian Public Prosecution ordered the detention of three suspects in pretrial detention for a period of four days pending investigation, and released three others in the event that each of them paid bail of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($6,338), and another with a guarantee of his place of residence.
The prosecution also brought the defendants to the forensic medicine office to determine the extent of their drug use, in addition to investigating the messages on their phones.
It is reported that one of the accused, A.T., is the son of a famous football coach. Egyptian media sites reported that investigation authorities renewed their contact with Interpol to arrest the son of a famous businessman, who is currently in London, because of information indicating his involvement in the case.
The case dates back to 2014, but became public at the end of July 2020 when social media accounts shared stories about Egyptian youths from wealthy families luring a woman during a party at the Fairmont to a hotel room after they put a narcotic in her drink and filmed the incident.
The prosecution began its investigation into the case at the beginning of August, after receiving a complaint from the National Council for Women, an Egyptian government institution that deals with women’s affairs. The complaint included the woman’s evidence and the testimonies of people who provided information about the incident.