Two killed in attack targeting Alexandria police chief

This image from Twitter shows the burning remains of a vehicle after the blast in ALexandria (Twitter)
Updated 25 March 2018

Two killed in attack targeting Alexandria police chief

CAIRO: A bomb targeting the police chief of Alexandria in northern Egypt killed two people on Saturday, spreading fear in the country’s second-largest city amid a security crackdown in the build-up to next week’s presidential election.
Two policemen died and five other people were injured in the explosion, which the government said was intended to assassinate Maj. Gen. Mostafa Al-Nemr. He escaped unharmed and later returned to the scene to inspect the damage. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Saudi Arabia condemned the bombing and a government spokesman said the Kingdom stands in solidarity with Egypt, according the Saudi Press Agency.
Residents in the area told Arab News they had been terrified by the huge blast, which could be heard several blocks away.
“It was a massive explosion that shook our building,” said Manal Abdel ‘Aal, who lives near the Tolip Hotel in the neighborhood of Roshdy. “We saw dense smoke all over the place and the arrival of the security forces and ambulance.”
The attack comes at a sensitive time for Egypt, with the country due to go to the polls on March 26-28 in a presidential election that is widely regarded as a foregone conclusion by both voters and analysts. The incumbent, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, is expected to win by a landslide following a crackdown against his political rivals, critics in the press and what he refers to as “forces of evil.”
But while a range of opposition groups and individuals may have reason to feel aggrieved with the security forces, radical militants appear to be the most likely culprits behind the bombing.
Insurgents linked to Daesh have killed hundreds of soldiers, police and civilians in Egypt in recent years, although their main stronghold is in North Sinai. The Egyptian state news agency MENA blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, which was toppled from the government in 2013 following mass protests sparked by declining living standards and unpopular political reforms.
When El-Sisi took power on the back of these demonstrations, he outlawed the group and sanctioned the arrest of hundreds of its members, including his predecessor as president, Mohammed Mursi.
“This attempt comes in the context of terrorist Muslim Brotherhood elements trying to disrupt the electoral process and influence citizens into not going to the polls and participating in the presidential election,” MENA said.
The agency failed to say what evidence it had to link the Muslim Brotherhood to Saturday’s attack, and there has been rumor and speculation elsewhere about who may have been responsible for the bombing.
Two weeks ago, a Twitter account belonging to an unknown source posted a message in Arabic warning that Alexandria “will be the first Egyptian city” to experience a wave of militant attacks.
El-Sisi was minister of defense before he took power in 2013. He was elected president in 2014 with almost 97 percent of the vote and a similar result is expected this time.
His only opponent is Musa Mustafa Musa, an ardent supporter of the president before he, too, decided to stand in the election.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail blamed the attack on the “forces of terrorism and the states that back it.”
Meanwhile, in a statement e-mailed to Arab News, Fadl El-Ameiry, an Egyptian MP, called the bombing “a despicable and failed attempt” to destabilize the electoral process.

And in this video footage members of the emergency services can be seen dousing down the flames.


In these images the smoldering mangled remains of vehicles can be seen in the street next to what appear to be residential buildings.

More to follow...
(With AP and Reuters)

Iran will sell oil, break US sanctions, President Rouhani says

Updated 05 November 2018

Iran will sell oil, break US sanctions, President Rouhani says

  • US reimposed sanctions on Monday, but Iran pledges to defy them
  • Monday's actions mark an end to the 2015 nuclear deal reached under President Obama

DUBAI: Iran will sell its oil and break sanctions reimposed by the United States on its vital energy and banking sectors, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told economists at a meeting broadcast live on state television on Monday.

“America wanted to cut to zero Iran’s oil sales ... but we will continue to sell our oil ... to break sanctions,” Rouhani said.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed a first round of sanctions on Iran in August.

The deal saw most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran lifted in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under UN surveillance.