Today’s news: Hillary unhappy, casualties in Matrouh sectarian strife

Al-Ahram leads with international news today, reporting on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dismay at Israel’s decision to build 1600 residential units in East Jerusalem.

The headline in the state-owned daily reads “America feels insulted by Israel’s plan to build in Jerusalem.” Clinton is quoted as saying that her country not only objects to the timing of this announcement, which coincided with US Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, but also to the principle behind it.

The story is accompanied by a picture of two Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian woman on the ground with the caption, "A Palestinian woman fell to the floor before her arrest by an Israel soldier during demonstrations against settlements."

Al-Akhbar leads with the same story, adding that violent confrontations erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians in various locations in the West Bank. The paper reports that Israel has enforced a complete closure of the West Bank.

Police forces have been reinforced in Jerusalem and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak justified the move citing security reasons, according to Al-Akhbar.

Al-Ahram also features a decision by Aswan Governorate to spend LE11 million to compensate victims of the torrential rains that struck the area last January. LE25,000 will be given to owners of collapsed homes, with another LE5000 for lost furniture. More than 100  homeowners will benefit from the decision, the report says.

Al-Ahram’s front page contains a brief report on the arrest of a man who allegedly duped some 300 businesspersons into giving him millions in return for the promise of tax exemption. The man, who operated in 6 October City, was reported to have worn stylish clothing, driven a Mercedes, and claimed to be an adviser for the Minister of Finance. No mention is made of the suspect’s name, or his purported victims.

Al-Akhbar leads with a story that may have been fitting for National Police Day. The report says that when a traffic police officer saw a man trying to park in front of Qasr el-Eini Hospital, he tried to stop him. However, the driver said his son was between life and death, and that he had come here looking for blood. The traffic officer allowed him to park and befriended him inside the hospital, finally donating his own blood to save the man’s child, according to Al-Akhbar. The father reportedly cried and couldn’t find words to describe his gratitude.

Independent newspapers focus on sectarian clashes in Matrouh Governorate. Al-Shorouq leads with the aftermath of clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in a rural area near Marsa Matrouh. The clashes, which occurred the day before yesterday, were triggered by objections from Muslim families to a wall that would close off a main street and join health and social services buildings that belong to a church.

The clashes led to the injury of 30 individuals on both sides, Al-Shorouq says, in addition to seven security men, with three cars and two homes burned down, and damage to 11 other cars. Al-Wafd offers a different injury count, saying that 23 were injured, with two in critical condition, and 16 cars damaged. Both papers agreed that the situation is now calm.

Al-Dostour says that 31 individuals were injured in the sectarian fighting, with only one building burned down. Al-Dostour’s front page headlines reads, “The train of sectarian strife arrives in Matrouh.”

In other news, Al-Dostour claims that Gamal Mubarak has begun his presidential campaign, putting his picture on many car windows in Alexandria. The papers says the phenomena was witnessed only recently, with 2×1 meter stickers covering the back windows of luxury cars with temporary customs license plates. Apparently, the cars were seen on Alexandria’s main streets.

Egypt’s newspapers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouq:Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Youm7: Weekly, privately owned
Sawt el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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