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Egypt

Egypt awaits Saudi funding, more arrests

Saudi Arabia says it is considering more funding sought by Egypt's military-backed interim government. Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities have arrested another senior Muslim Brotherhood politician, Mohamed al-Beltagi.

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was studying requests from Egypt's army-backed interim government for major investments in projects to repair Egypt's economy battered by two years of political turmoil.

In Cairo, Saudi ambassador Ahmed Qattan told the news agency Reuters that his country, along with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, was studying a "comprehensive" report on investment needs finalized by Egypt's cabinet on Wednesday.

In mid-July the Gulf trio promised Egypt a total of $12 billion (9 billion euros) in loans, fuel and grants after Egypt's army removed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Of that, $5 billion has already been delivered.

The deputy premier in Egypt's interim government, Ziad Bahaa el-Din, said on Wednesday that Gulf investments would be aimed at labor-intensive projects and services that helped Egypt's poor, including railways, low-income housing and plants for potable water and sewage treatment.

Vocal Islamist arrested

Egypt's interior ministry said El-Beltagi was arrested at a village near Cairo on Thursday as military-backed authorities pressed on with a crackdown. The official news agency MENA said elsewhere in Egypt police arrested 28 other Islamists.

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Beltagi was a vocal opponent of the military coup that toppled Morsi, who is being held at an undisclosed location. The Brotherhood's top leader, Mohamed Badie, and his deputies already faces trial.

Morsi supporters on Thursday vowed at a news conference in Cairo to stage more rallies and called for prisoner releases in the wake of the police operation on 14 August that left more than 1,000 people dead.

"We welcome any calls for calm, but we will continue protesting in a peaceful manner, said Salah Gomaa, a member of the Anti-Coup Alliance led by the Brotherhood.

Clamps on Al-Jazeera affiliate

In a further development Thursday, Egypt's interim government threatened to ban Qatari-based al-Jazeera television's Egyptian affiliate, Mubashir Misr, accusing it of endangering national security. It has used a live broadcast van since its Cairo office was raided and closed during Morsi's removal in 3 July.

A government statement issued by MENA accused Mubashir Misr of operating without a license.

The channel began broadcasting after the 2011 uprising that ousted autocratic former President Hosni Mubarak and it covered Brotherhood protests following Morsi's removal. Channel head, Ayman Gaballah, said government accusations were fabricated.

"Our license … clearly states that the channel can operate in Egypt, "he said.

Mubashir Misr made headlines earlier this week when it aired Brotherhood declarations, including a statement from Beltagi - before his arrest on Thursday.

ipj/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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