Egypt's dailies accuse 'terrorist' Brotherhood of plotting Mansoura blast

Tony Gamal Gabriel, Wednesday 25 Dec 2013

Despite inconclusive investigations' lack of evidence as yet, Wednesday banner headlines of Egypt's daily newspapers accuse Muslim Brotherhood of standing behind the Mansoura terror attack

(Photo: Tony Gabriel)

The Wednesday morning banner headlines of Egypt's daily newspapers explicitly accused the Muslim Brotherhood for the Tuesday Mansoura blast, despite inconclusive investigative results, including the identity of the perpetrators, which continue to shroud the terror attack in mystery.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, deadly bombings rocked the Daqahliya Security Directorate in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura. The explosion killed 16 and injured at least 134 in the worst terror attack on a government site since the July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In the immediate aftermath of Morsi's ouster, various Egyptian media outlets swiftly embarked on a campaign vilifying the Muslim Brotherhood, labelling them terrorists and traitors.

The Al-Akhbar newspaper Wednesday banner read "a revolution of anger against the Brotherhood's terrorism" above a photograph depicting a funerary procession held for the victims.

Al-Gomhouriya, another state-owned daily, also spelled rage against the Muslim Brotherhood: "15 martyrs and 135 wounded: the outcome of the terrorist operation – military and civilian funerals for the martyrs and protest calls for the execution of the Brotherhood."

Al-Ahram, the country's leading state-owned newspaper, more soberly stated "Egypt is enveloped by grief…and the government is falling short – black terrorism reaps 15 citizens and 100 wounded."

Privately-owned newspapers were also prompt to attack the Muslim Brotherhood.

With a design depicting dripping blood on its front page, Al-Watan dedicated two main headlines to the Mansoura attack along with photos of slain policemen: "The Brotherhood is a terrorist organisation" and "The Brotherhood kills…while the elderly government weeps." 

Referring to the July protests organised in response to Egypt Army Chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's request for a "mandate against terrorism" from the Egyptian people, Al-Watan also wrote "From the people to El-Sisi: We granted you the mandate…and we will slit the terrorists' throats."

Al-Masry Al-Youm, one of Egypt's foremost daily newspapers, also ran a banner on the anti-Brotherhood uproar in Mansoura. "Mansoura will not be defeated by terrorism – the angry crowds salute the directorate explosion martyrs and call for the Brotherhood's execution."

In clear reference to the main slogan of the popular uprisings that toppled both long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak in January 2011 and Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 -- "the people demand the toppling of the regime" -- privately-owned Al-Youm Al-Sabe's banner read, in red bold print, "the people demand the execution of the Brotherhood." 

With pictures of the wounded and others of citizens and security forces moving through the rubble, the newspaper also claimed a "security breach," saying a "Brotherhood conscript," who allegedly photographed the security compound along with a friend a week prior to the attack, had been identified.

With a photograph of the funerary procession, privately-owned Al-Tahrir newspaper carried a banner reading "Victorious Egypt" – an allusion to the word Mansoura, Arabic for "victorious."

"Dozens of thousands attend the terror martyrs' funeral – Mansoura: the people demand the execution of the Brotherhood," the same newspaper also read.

On a more temperate note, privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper wrote "Black terrorism strikes Mansoura yet the people stand defiant" and "The army promises to cleanse the country of the bats of darkness."

Both Al-Shorouk and Al-Masry Al-Youm underlined the "division" and the "confusion" inside the Egyptian cabinet regarding whether or not to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

According to an official source who spoke to Egypt's state news agency MENA on condition of anonymity, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi has tasked Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed El-Borai with preparing a legal opinion on labelling the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, as pressure on the government to this effect continues to mount.

As for the Brotherhood's mouthpiece, the Freedom and Justice newspaper -- its masthead appearing against an untraditionally black background -- underlined on its front page the group and its allies' condemnations of the attack. The banner also accused the instigators of Morsi's ouster of attempting to crush the "revolutionary movement," accusing the army of "preparing a new military coup on the pretext of a war against terror."

Tuesday, the Muslim Brotherhood had been quick to deny any connection to the blast. "The Muslim Brotherhood considers this act a direct attack on the unity of the Egyptian people and demands an enquiry forthwith so that the perpetrators of this crime may be brought to justice," an emailed statement from the group's London press office read.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party official Facebook page also charged on Tuesday that the Mansoura attack will be used as a pretext for "a new bloodbath [against Islamists]" ahead of the referendum on the amended 2012 Islamist-drafted constitution.

The pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy has also condemned what it labelled a "criminal act" that aims to provoke strife, asserting its peacefulness and denouncing all forms of bloodshed, as stated on the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party website.

Short link: