Egypt Independent

Wednesday’s papers: Searching for answers in Boston and at home



Egyptian papers are joining the flurry of international press reports, commentary and speculation on the unknown culprits of the marathon bombing that shocked Boston and the world Monday.

Twin blasts that went off just 12 seconds apart killed at least three and injured more than 180 people near the finish line of the famous race.

According to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, US authorities are searching for a suspect who was seen wearing a black T-Shirt and carrying a black backpack. The paper says police continue to inspect the streets of Boston and check the belongings of public transport users and residents.  

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and other leaders have denounced the attack. The mouthpiece of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party says on its front page that the presidency described the bombings as a "criminal act" in a statement that also declared its support for victims' families.

Freedom and Justice newspaper also publishes the party's statement: "Islamic Sharia, which the Freedom and Justice Party undertakes as its source of reference, utterly rejects attacks against civilians and does not accept endangering the lives of civilians regardless of their religion, color, or gender."

Al-Watan's headline reads, "Boston blasts in the face of the world." The privately owned paper claims what many fear, that accusations are already chasing Islamists, and quotes Egyptian political analystswho speculate that such attacks could negatively affect the US administration's relationship with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood rulers.

Privately owned daily Al-Shorouk purports to quote the New York Times as saying that "Muslims are hiding themselves in fear of being accused in the events," while quoting the French Le Figaro as saying that terrorism has no religion. However no such statements could immediately be found on the New York Times website.

At home, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's testimony in a case regarding destroyed state security documents is making waves.

Al-Akhbar publishes the minister's exact testimony before Giza Criminal Court at the Police Academy Tuesday, in which he primarily denies that the military council had any prior knowledge of the documents or of plans to destroy them.

Following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, pro-democracy activists declared a nationwide campaign to storm headquarters of the state security offices. Upon storming the Cairo headquarters, activists discovered many documents housed inside had been shredded. Former State Security Investigative Services leader Hassan Abdel Rahman and 40 senior intelligence officers are now on trial, accused of ordering the destruction of the important documents.

Sisi, who was the head of military intelligence at the time, told the court that military forces were ordered to secure the headquarters from outside and did not to enter the headquarters to avoid any possible violence with the activists.

"We have no reason why State Security shredded the documents, but I can say that every apparatus has to protect its secrets because many problems may occur if these secrets are leaked to the public," he said, refusing to give an opinion on whether the documents contained sensitive national security information.

"Every apparatus sets its own standards of secrecy," he added, according to Al-Akhbar.

Al-Watan reports that the minister, who was appointed by President Mohamed Morsy in August, confirmed that the Army had learned online about plans to storm the intelligence headquarters.

The newspaper also says the court rejected two requests from lawyers to question Sisi about any involvement former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq may have had in the incident, as well as how information from some of the intact documents was leaked to the public.  

The newspaper quotes one of the lawyers describing Sisi's court appearance as the testimony of "a witness who has not witnessed anything."

The prosecution argued that the crime is not the document shredding, but the destruction of history and truth which amounts to treason, Al-Shorouk reports.

"The country was good to them, but they met this with corruption," the prosecution said of the defendants, according to Al-Shorouk.

Independent Al-Tahrir newspaper writes that Sisi said in this testimony that the military was not ordered to transfer the undestroyed documents from the headquarters after the attack.

"We have been discussing this issue for two years, and we were in the middle of a revolution. There was some information leaked on Facebook, but I have no power to conduct any investigations into the State Security," Sisi was reported as saying.

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

Al-Sabah: 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