Sunday’s papers: Eid with a touch of Sinai and Morsy

Despite the balloons incorporated into its logo, the privately owned daily Al-Tahrir finds little to celebrate on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, with the majority of the independent daily's headlines revolving around last Sunday's shooting in Sinai, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers lost their lives. The paper questions potential Palestinian involvement before quoting an anonymous "high-ranking" security official apparently suspicious of the "ten Yemeni extremists" whom he claims "snuck into Egypt two months before the incident at Rafah."

The paper also features an interview with Amr and Hazem Khalil, the imams at Fatima al-Sharboutly mosque, where president Morsy has been carrying out "all his mandatory daily prayers" for the past seven years. The possible-siblings (the paper doesn't elaborate on their relation) also reveal that, besides fixing the mosque's faulty plumbing and asking them to collect complaints from citizens and have them delivered to his office on a daily basis, the president will also hold an open assembly at the mosque following Eid prayers, in order to communicate directly with his constituents. "God has blessed us with a president who never misses a prayer at this mosque," explains Amr, who, in an adjacent article, listens to the complaints of three Coptic men, in an effort to serve as the Christian community's "presidential liasion." The article ends with a quote by one of the complaining men, stating that every time he goes to the mosque, he's informed he "just missed the president, and if he'd known you were a Copt, he'd have solved all your problems."

Across the page, Sheikh Hafez Salama isn't convinced, choosing to believe instead that the real president of Egypt is none other than Ahmed Shafiq. The leader of the Suez Popular Resistance movement points to the fact that Morsy was "only able to break out of jail because of the revolution" as the foundation of his reasoning, before proceeding to predict a bleak future for "an unstable country led by a weak government.

"If all of [Shafiq's] supporters had voted for him, it might have changed this reality we're in," Salama stated, proving he's at least willing to admit that what he believes and 'reality' aren't necessarily the same.

Meanwhile, the paper's editor-in-chief Ibrahim Eissa uses a religious parable to warn specific readers of the dangers of living in the past. "The point is, the world changes," Eissa writes, after tiring of metaphors. "And those who believe they can turn back the clock in order to relive the glories of the past will learn otherwise."

A less glorious past is recalled by inmates of the 'militant era', as Al-Shorouk refers to it, with the independent daily reprinting 'tales of torture and pain' in its accounts of arrests and military trails in the wake of the revolution. For its lead story, however, the paper warns of "terrorists attempting a retaliatory attack in Sinai," with a slew of reports on violence targeting authorities in the region. In one incident, a roadside bomb was detonated with no injuries or casualties reported, while shortly after a police checkpoint came under heavy fire from attackers using firearms and rocket-propelled grenades. Several arrests and injuries were reported from this incident, as well as others. The increase in attacks comes after an intensification of regional security following Sunday's shooting, the paper reports. In the same article, however, the armed forces deny being the target of any of the recent Sinai violence, despite their efforts in containing it.

Al-Shorouk also reports on “Catch a Sex Offender During the Eid” — a capital-wide campaign calling for the “end of sexual harassment” through posters, flyers and stickers "plastered all over the city in the hours leading up to Eid al-Fitr … which the [campaigners] have dubbed the 'season of harassment,'" the paper reports. 

Meanwhile, Al-Wafd follows up on the aforementioned 10 Yemenis — a threat it deems worthy of red font. The independent daily turns to CNN as its source for reports on the Yemenis, alleged Al-Qaeda operatives who successfully crossed into Egypt from Sudan "amidst the throngs of African migrants heading to Israel" and had been covertly training ever since. As with the anonymous official in Al-Tahrir, the paper names Jabal Hallal as the operatives' most likely hideout.

For its second lead story, Al-Wafd keeps its focus on the Sinai peninsula, with a report on Egypt's refusal to remove its heavy artillery from the region, as requested by Israel, on the grounds that it constitutes a violation of the Camp David peace treaty. The paper reports, however, that an anonymous official from the Egyptian military has responded by claiming Israel's request "casts doubt on Tel Aviv's true intentions" — implying a conspiracy in which Israel is forced to "re-occupy the peninsula" following Egypt's failure to deal with the militant threat.

For its lead story, state-run Al-Ahram seems to report on an altogether separate Sinai, one in which "one million farmers" are celebrating being repatriated as part of the government's plan to “develop Sinai as fast as possible.” The state-owned paper reports that the development initiative will add 200,000 feddans of farmland to the region, with five million more to be added over the next five years. Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Salah Mohamed Abdel Momen promises that, in this coming week alone, 150 local and foreign investors will be finalizing deals concerning their involvement in the initiative, which the minister describes as "one of the necessities of Egyptian national security."

Finally, the Freedom and Justice party paper uses its headline space to remind readers of the “double pleasure” they should be feeling due to having Morsy in office on this "revolution-flavored Eid” — reiterated in the supplement, “The Joys of Eid,” in the article titled “Our First Eid with Morsy.” The rest of the front page goes to an advertisement for supposed musical group Birds of Heaven, which features five children shadowed by five fully-grown men. Double pleasure, indeed.

The paper also points out that Morsy will be performing Eid prayers at the Amr ibn al-Aas mosque, presumably to the sound of the Khalils' breaking hearts.

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

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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