Thursday’s papers: Terrorist cells and shop closing times

Privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper leads with news about arms smuggling from Libya with the headline "Libyan convoys of arm smuggling unveil terrorist cells in Egypt.” Al-Shorouk reports that over the past week, the Interior Minister has publicly released details about seven incidents related to national security. The paper reports that the minister revealed Wednesday that the men arrested last Thursday in Nasr City possessed explosives and heavy weaponry and were preparing for a terrorist attack over the Eid holiday.

A security source informed al-Shorouk that interrogation of the detainees has led to the discovery of active jihadist elements within Cairo. The source added that the ministry implemented a thorough security plan around the capital and outlying suburbs and satellite cities like Nasr City, where last week's police raid on the terrorist suspects occurred.

State-run Al-Ahram reports that vital facilities within Cairo and other cities were targeted by the suspected terrorists. The paper cites the Interior Ministry's report that 63 grenades, three missiles, a missile launcher, an anti-tank missile, and three rocket-propelled grenades, in addition to a number of electric circuits and explosives, were confiscated from those arrested last week in Nasr City. Minister of Interior Ahmed Gamal Eddin stated that heightened security measures contributed to the arrest of the terrorist cell in Nasr City.

Al-Akhbar newspaper leads with “New details on the Nasr City terrorist cells” — the government paper states that 12 suspects were arrested, including a Tunisian. Accoding to Al-Akhbar, the cell has branches in Cairo, Alexandria, Gharbia, and Giza. The newspaper added that many of those arrested have previously been detained and investigated in cases related to national security.

Al-Akhbar adds in its report that those arrested planned to use mobile phones in major terrorist attacks in four governorates. Handbooks on how to construct a manual bomb were also confiscated when the arrests took place. Al-Akhbar also reports that large quantities of explosive TNT were confiscated in a warehouse in the town of Burg al-Arab near Alexandria, in addition to containers of nitrate and phosphate that can be used to make bombs.    

Another leading story is the government's decision to delay issuing a final order on a new closing time of shops and restaurants throughout the country. Al-Shorouk cites an anonymous source from the Ministry of Local Development revealing that the delay was unplanned, and was the result of unsuccessful negotiations with shop owners who demanded the closing time to be midnight rather than 10 pm. Vice President of the Federation of the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Mohamed al-Masry stated that the decision will be difficult to implement, but clarified that the body representing businesses is not against it. With the right regulations and decisions taking into consideration the nature of each city, the measures could actually work, al-Masry said.

Contradicting Al-Shorouk, government-owned paper Al-Ahram reports that the new closing time for shops "in some governorates" will begin Saturday. The paper cites comments from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohamed Mahsoub Abdel Meguid to reporters that a Cabinet meeting reached the decision to implement the new closing times across all governorates starting this weekend.

Meanwhile, Cairo Governor Osama Kamal stated that the decision for the Cairo governorate will be made within the coming few days. Giza Governor Aly Abdel Rahman told Al-Shorouk that a meeting with some representatives of the retail industry will take place on Sunday to agree upon implementation plans for the new order. Governor Abdel Rahman added that the Giza Chamber of Commerce approves the decision, but seeks to implement various opening and closing times according to the activity of the shop. He added that restrictions would also be imposed on street vendors.

Meanwhile, Freedom and Justice, the Muslim Brotherhood's mouthpiece and the official paper of the powerful Freedom and Justice Party, does not address either of these major issues. The paper leads with Prime Minister Hesham Qandil's new initiatives to address traffic problems and butane and fuel shortages. The newspaper states that starting Thursday, citizens will be able to obtain domestic butane cylinders upon presentation of a government-issued card. According to the Governor of Giza, Aly Abdel Rahman a system of delivery will be implemented at a charge of LE5, with delivery of butane cylinders occurring twice per day.  

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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