Egypt Independent: News-Main news en Brotherhood says former Morsy-era government adviser arrested <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Police arrested Friday a Mohamed Morsy-era government official as security counter protests called for by Islamist opposition, according to a statement on the Brotherhood&rsquo;s Freedom and Justice Party website.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Abdlallah Shehata, a former adviser to the Finance&nbsp;Ministry and a former head of the FJP&rsquo;s economic committee, was arrested along with his wife and son at their residence in al-Haram, Giza.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>His wife was later released, according to the website.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Shehata is a professor at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He was tasked with negotiations for loans with the International Monetary Fund until Morsy&rsquo;s ouster in July 2013.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:15:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2440628 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/28/499612/abdlallah_shehata.jpg PM reassures Egyptians on security situations from IDSC <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb reassured citizens of the security situation, saying he has been following events nationwide after the Salafi Front called for protests on Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Privately-owned TV channel OnTV aired Mehleb&rsquo;s remarks from inside the central task force at the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) saying that &ldquo;security presence on streets is very high.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to deliver a message of reassurance to people. All the gatherings are simple and fragile,&rdquo; Mehleb said stressing swift intervention in case anyone makes violations or block roads.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 15:15:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2440621 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/28/39/mehleb.jpg Police officer, 3 soldiers injured in Sharqiya blast <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>A police officer and three soldiers were injured on Friday in a bomb blast in the Soares area near Abu Kabir Police Station in Sharqiya.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Security sources and eyewitnesses said that a police officer, two Central Security Forces officers and a soldier were injured as unidentified assailants threw a bomb from the rooftop of a building near the police station of Abu Kabir.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The injured were transferred to hospital. A claim was filed with the incident and the prosecution took over investigations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:38:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2440624 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/09/26/484151/251929_0.jpg Egypt crackdown adds to Gaza blockade woes <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p id="yui_3_9_1_1_1417175563630_1005">Already struggling under the weight of an Israeli blockade, Gazans are now feeling the effects of an Egyptian exclusion zone along their shared border that has sent prices soaring.</p><p>After the cost of his cigarettes nearly tripled, 18-year-old Jihad Ahmed now buys just a few at a time instead of a pack and smokes them sparingly.</p><p>Imad Shalbiya, who sold them to him, said Egypt&#39;s crackdown on cross-border smuggling tunnels was behind the price hike.</p><p>&quot;The tunnels from Egypt have been closed, hitting stocks of cigarettes in Gaza hard and sending prices soaring,&quot; he told AFP.</p><p>Israel first imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2006 after militants there snatched one of its soldiers.</p><p>It was tightened significantly a year later when the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the territory, which is home to 1.8 million people.</p><p>But some relief came through a honeycomb of tunnels from Egypt that brought in a wide range of consumer goods, livestock, fuel, as well as arms and money for militant groups.</p><p>Smuggling of building materials alone was worth more than one billion euros annually, according to Ayman Abed of the economy ministry in Gaza.</p><p>But the Egyptian military, which began a process of shutting down the tunnels after it overthrow Islamist president Mohamed Morsy in July 2013, stepped up its activity significantly in late October after militants in northern Sinai killed some 30 Egyptian soldiers.</p><p>Since then, it has been demolishing houses along the border to build a buffer zone in a region that has been rocked by insurgency since Morsy&#39;s ouster.</p><p>So far, Egypt has destroyed 1,600 tunnels. In late October it also closed the Rafah border crossing, Gaza&#39;s only gateway to the world not controlled by Israel.</p><p>&quot;Prices are very high since Egypt completely closed the tunnels,&quot; said Abu Mohammed, who owns a small supermarket west of Gaza City, noting hikes in the price of &quot;milk, legumes and even cheese.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We used to sell Egyptian cheese for 10 or 11 shekels; now it is more than 23 (about US$6 or nearly 5 euros). I don&#39;t sell it anymore. No one buy it at this price.&quot;</p><p id="yui_3_9_1_1_1417175563630_1028">And Mohammed Safi, who owns an electronics shop, said: &quot;Prices of mobiles are higher since the blockade of tunnels. We can&#39;t get them as before. We used to sell iPhone 5s for 2,200 shekels, now the price is 2,600.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;Disastrous situation&#39;&nbsp;</strong></p><p id="yui_3_9_1_1_1417175563630_1030">Products entering from Israel are far more expensive than those originating in Egypt, and largely beyond the means of the average Palestinian in the crowded coastal territory, where youth unemployment is running at 63 percent.</p><p>Oxfam says more than 40 percent of the overall population is jobless and that 80 percent live on humanitarian aid.</p><p>The lack of cement and gravel to feed the construction industry accounts for 35,000 of Gaza&#39;s unemployed, Abed of the economy ministry said.</p><p>During last summer&#39;s war with Israel, UN figures show that around 20,000 housing units, or nearly six percent of the housing stock, were severely damaged or destroyed. That resulted in more than 100,000 internally displaced persons.</p><p>Tens of thousands of other homes were damaged in the conflict and are still awaiting repairs and renovation.</p><p>But since fighting ended on 26 August, only 1,300 tonnes of building materials have crossed into the Strip, Palestinian officials say.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s not enough to put up a single building,&quot; according to Gaza builders&#39; merchant Suheil Tuman.</p><p>When distributed through the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), a 50 kilogramme sack of cement sells for 5.50 euros. But the price is 42 euros on the black market.</p><p>&quot;When the tunnels were open, a tonne of cement sold for 380 shekels (80 euros) on the black market,&quot; Tuman said. &quot;Today it is 3,800 shekels.&quot;</p><p>Economist Amr Shaabane said the economic situation &quot;is literally disastrous. It has never been this bad in Gaza.&quot;</p><p>The reasons? &quot;The blockade, poverty, unemployment, the trickle of goods entering and soaring prices.&quot;</p><p>In the past, Gaza prices had always been far lower than in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.</p><p id="yui_3_9_1_1_1417175563630_1094">&quot;Today, Gaza market stalls offer Israeli goods at a price that is more expensive to begin with and to which heavy taxes are added on their entry to Gaza,&quot; the economist said.</p> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:58:00 +0000 AFP 2440618 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/28/499612/egypt_crackdown_adds_to_gaza_blockade_woes.jpg