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Monday, 8 January 2018

Egypt denies NYT claims that Egypt signalled “tacit acceptance of Jerusalem move”

The biggest story on Egypt in the international press this morning is the State Information Service’s reaction to a New York Times piece by former Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick. The story, published yesterday, alleges the Sisi administration tacitly accepted the White House’s move to effectively recognize Jerusalem as the capital is Israel.

The SIS denies the Times’ claim that an Egyptian intelligence officer instructed a number of influential talk show hosts and high-profile personalities to downplay the significance of Trump’s Jerusalem move. Kirkpatrick reported the conversations based on four recordings of phone calls between the persons in question — talk show hosts Mofid Fawzy, Saeed Hassaneen, and Azmy Megahed, and actress Yousra — and a one Captain Ashraf Al Kholi of the Egyptian Intelligence, who asked them “instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it.”

No one by that name: The State Information Services denied the existence of an intelligence officer by that name in a statement yesterday, saying that not only did the four people mentioned in the article deny any connection to the recordings, but also that apart from Megahed, none of them are currently in a position to influence TV audiences — with Fawzy and Hassaneen being presently off the air and Yousra (who has reportedly threatened to sue) not having much of a television presence.

The story is being widely covered by the local and foreign press, with pickups on Al Masry Al Youm, Times of Israel, Al Bawaba, and i24 News.

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