Chronology: Egypt

The Middle East Journal, Summer 2014 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Egypt


See also Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Libya

Jan. 18: The draft constitutional referendum passed with 98% of the vote, raising international concern about the vote's fairness. Thirty-eight percent of Egypt's electorate participated in the two-day referendum on January 14-15, more than the approximately one-third that voted in a referendum on the previous constitution in December 2012. Experts attributed the near unanimity of the vote to strict government suppression of any opposition. Security forces killed at least two protesters and arrested more than 100 during protests against the military government on January 17. [BBC, 1/18]

Jan. 23: Masked gunmen fired at a police checkpoint in Bani Suwayf, in central Egypt, killing five policemen and wounding two. No party immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. [Daily Star, 1/23]

Jan. 24: Four explosions in Cairo killed six and wounded 100; a blast targeting the police headquarters also damaged the Museum of Islamic Art, destroying much of the newly renovated, 19th century building and thousands of artifacts. The al-Qa'ida- linked militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the blast outside of the police headquarters; no party claimed responsibility for the other three explosions. [AP, 1/27]

Jan. 26: Interim President 'Adli Mansur announced that presidential elections would be held early, in order to precede parliamentary elections. The announcement came after two days of intense anti- government protests, rallies, and clashes across Egypt that killed over 50 people around the third anniversary of the 2011 overthrow of former president Husni Mubarak. The elections were scheduled to be held before mid-April. [Daily Star, 1/26]

Jan. 28: Former president Mohamed Morsi and 20 other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders appeared in soundproof, glass boxes before the Cairo Criminal Court. A total of 131 defendants, most tried in absentia, were accused of conspiring with foreign militant movements, including the Sunni Islamist Palestinian group Hamas and the Shi'i Lebanese group Hizbullah. Egyptian state television unexpectedly canceled the live broadcast of the trial, but showed limited clips later in the day; all other news organizations were banned from reporting live from inside the court. [Daily Star, 1/28]

Militants blew up a natural gas pipeline near al-'Arish, a city in the northern Sinai Peninsula. The attack was the most recent of a series that targeted pipelines since the 2011 fall of former president Mubarak. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibil- ity for the attack, as well for as a similar attack on January 18. [Daily Star, 1/28]

Jan. 29: Egyptian authorities charged 20 journalists, several who reported for Al Jazeera, with conspiring with a terrorist group and broadcasting false news that damaged national security. The authorities jailed five of the journalists without charges - at least three since December and at least one since August. Al Jazeera was the only major Arabic-language news outlet available in Egypt that was sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and critical of the military government. [Guardian, 1/29, NYT, 1/29]

Jan. 31: A military air strike in the northern Sinai killed 13 suspected militants from the Islamist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The militant group had claimed responsibility for many attacks since 2011, including shooting down a military helicopter in Sinai on January 25 of this year. [Daily Star, 1/31]

Feb. 17: A bus bombing killed three South Korean tourists and the Egyptian driver in the first deadly terrorist attack on tourists in more than three years. The bomb detonated at the Taba border crossing with Israel. The militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack. [NYT, 2/18]

Feb. 19: Authorities arrested two Egyptian citizens on accusations of spying for Israel and also announced charges against two Israeli citizens who were accused of being agents of Mossad, Israel's spy agency. …

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