Gas pipeline to Israel attacked again
Egyptian security officials say a militant Islamist group has blown up a terminal along the Egyptian natural gas pipeline to Israel in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
Officials say Saturday's attack on the terminal in al-Shulaq destroyed the last terminal before the line enters the sea on its way to Israel.
It is the third attack on the pipeline this month and the fifth since the 18-day uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.
Spain calls for early elections as market confidence erodes
Just hours earlier, Moody's credit ratings agency warned that it may downgrade Spain's government bonds by one notch to Aa3 because of the conditions attached to last week's deal on a second Greek bailout, which involves the private sector.
Even though eurozone leaders have been going to great lengths to reassure markets that making banks take a 'voluntary' cut in their gains on Greek bonds is a one-off and will not be replicated, Moody's said this set a "precedent" for other countries with high debt, such as Spain.
Spain is one of the last outposts of a Social-Democratic government in Europe, with the centre-right having swept into power in most EU countries except for Austria, Greece and Cyprus.
Hundreds of Al Qaeda gunmen kill at least 7 in rampage through Sinai town
In a Taliban-style raid, at least 150 masked, uniformed al Qaeda gunmen rode into the Sinai capital of El Arish on pickups and motorcycles Friday, July 29, shooting up the desert town with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and automatic rifles. Before they rode out six hours later, at least seven people were killed, and upward of 30 injured.
Egyptian police and troops pulled back to their fortified station as terrified citizens of this desert town of 150,000 inhabitants fled the rampage. At least two of the dead were Egyptian civilians, a man of 70 and a 13-year old boy shot while take a cell phone picture.
Until July 29, al Qaeda in Sinai was believed to be no more than a handful of cells mostly working with local Bedouin dope and arms smuggling rings. None suspected them of acquiring quasi-military competence.
This evaluation will have to be urgently revised now that the Egyptian authorities have lost their grip on Sinai. The lawlessness reigning today in this strategic territory, which abuts on Israel, the Red Sea and Suez Canal, is cause for Israeli and US alarm.