Egypt, Ethiopia Water Dispute Threatens Nations


 By David Michel | June 26 2013 12:33 PM

 The drums of war are beating again in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. But this confrontation doesn’t concern Syria, Somalia, Israel or the Palestinians. The adversaries are Egypt and Ethiopia. The flashpoint is the waters of the Nile.

 As part of the construction of its Grand Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia began partially diverting the course of the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan before flowing on to Egypt, in late May. For Ethiopia, the 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance project -- the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa -- promises power for the 83 percent of the population lacking access to electricity, as well as energy for export.

For Egypt, though, the dam raises an existential alarm. Egypt receives almost no rainfall. It depends on the Nile for 97 percent of its renewable water resources. The Nile, in turn, depends on Ethiopia. More than four-fifths of the water in the river first falls as rain in the Ethiopian highlands.

Ethiopia maintains the Grand Renaissance project won’t harm its neighbors. But Egypt fears the mile-long, 560-foot-tall dam -- and the 74 billion cubic meter reservoir behind it -- could diminish the vital water supplies ultimately available downstream.

 Despite the saber rattling rhetoric, there’s little chance Egypt and Ethiopia will actually cross swords over the Nile. Both countries have far too much to lose from war. Yet, while a clash of arms remains highly unlikely, the clashing demands on the Nile’s shared waters are real and symptomatic of similar conflicting claims over scarce water resources in other nations as well.

 Around the world, growing population pressures, unsustainable consumption patterns and escalating environmental stresses are imposing mounting strains on freshwater resources.

 From the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates to the Indus, many of the Earth’s major river basins are increasingly considered “closed.” This means that all their available renewable water is already allocated to various human and environmental needs, with little or no spare capacity.

Some closed rivers, such as the Colorado in the U.S. and Yellow River in China, no longer always run to the sea. With scant buffers to absorb new demands or fluctuations in supply, water use changes in one part of the system readily reverberate to users elsewhere in the basin, squeezing consumers and policymakers alike.

 More than 1.4 billion people now live in closed basins. If present trends continue, rising water demands for agriculture, industry and domestic needs will risk outrunning sustainable supplies in many more regions worldwide.

 According to projections by the 2030 Water Resources Group -- a consortium led by the World Bank and the consulting firm McKinsey -- global water requirements will exceed renewable resources by 40 percent in 2030 if there aren't considerable efficiency gains and policy improvements. In China, available water supplies will fulfill just three-quarters of anticipated demand 17 years from now; in India, only half.

 Global climate change will exacerbate these challenges. Shifting precipitation patterns threaten to reduce water availability in some regions while inflicting stronger storms on others, increasing both potential droughts and floods.

 Meeting the world’s growing water needs will require far more effective use of available resources. An alarming amount of the water now drawn from rivers and lakes or pumped from underground aquifers is wasted. In many countries, for example, 40 percent or more of all the water withdrawn for agriculture is squandered, evaporating into the air or seeping into the ground from poorly maintained canals before ever reaching farmers’ fields. Many cities lose a similar proportion of their municipal water supplies to leaky pipes.

 Ultimately, however, sustainable management of the world’s freshwater supplies will necessitate enhanced collaboration, between sectors and communities within nations, and between countries in international basins.

 Shared water resources tie consumers inextricably together. Water policy choices made by one user can impact the timing, location and amount of water available to other users. Contrary to the martial rhetoric currently heard on the Nile, confrontation can't navigate these trade-offs and conflict can't help meet rising water demands. Only cooperation can.

 On the Colorado River, for example, a creative new agreement between the U.S. and Mexico allows U.S. states to finance irrigation improvements in Mexico and then share in the additional water supply freed by the ensuing efficiencies.

 Similar cooperative approaches could defuse tensions on the Nile. Funding the Grand Renaissance project currently exerts substantial pressure on the Ethiopian treasury, even as Ethiopia aims to export much of the resulting hydropower. A joint venture with downstream Egypt and Sudan to manage the project together could ease Egyptian anxieties, while facilitating financing for the dam and securing partners and markets for expanding the regional power grid.

 Unlike policymakers, water resources ignore political boundaries. Water managers must learn to manage the world’s shared water supplies as allies rather than adversaries, or we will all suffer the consequences of increasing water shortages.

 David Michel is director of the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank that studies peace and security challenges around the world.


Whose Nile is it?

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A war of words breaks out in north-eastern Africa as Egypt fears that the $4.7-billion dam Ethiopia is planning on the Blue Nile will curtail the flow of Nile waters to the country and encourage other basin states to emulate Ethiopia. By JOHN CHERIAN

 IN the first half of June, there was heated rhetoric emanating from the capitals in north-eastern Africa. The reason for this was the construction of a huge dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. The multibillion-dollar Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when completed, will be among the biggest in the world, competing with the likes of China’s Three Gorges dam in size.

 On June 13, Ethiopia’s Parliament unanimously ratified a treaty that would no longer give Egypt the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters. Six Nile basin countries—Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda—had signed the treaty in 2011. “Most of the upstream countries have approved the treaty through their parliaments. We delayed it as a gesture of goodwill to the people of Egypt until a formally elected government was in place,” Ethiopia’s government spokesman told the media. Eleven countries share the basin of the world’s longest river, which flows through East Africa before emptying itself into the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt.

 Ethiopia’s neighbours, such as Egypt and Sudan, whose economies are crucially dependent on the Nile, are not happy with what they perceive as Ethiopia’s unilateral moves. Egyptian civilisation and culture itself owes its existence to the free-flowing waters of the Nile.

 Course of the river
  The government in Cairo is of the opinion that Addis Ababa’s decision to operationalise the dam will be an incentive for countries such as Uganda and the newly independent Republic of South Sudan to plan similar dams on the Nile before its waters enter Sudan and Egypt. Three quarters of the Nile’s waters to Egypt comes from Ethiopia, which is the source of the Blue Nile. The White Nile flows through Uganda and Sudan. The White Nile and the Blue Nile meet at Khartoum and then flow together into the sea through Cairo. Since the 19th century, Egyptian leaders have worked overtime to ensure that the waters from the Nile flow uninterrupted into the cotton and wheat fields of their country. Egypt had briefly invaded Sudan and Ethiopia in the 19th century in futile bids to get complete control over the Nile.


 Will Ethiopia's 'grand' new dam steal Nile waters from Egypt?

 Africa's largest hydropower project, a new 6,000-megawatt dam on the Blue Nile, has sparked a row between Egypt and Ethiopia. But it could increase the overall water flow in the Nile.

 By William Davison, Correspondent / June 25, 2013

 A woman rows her boat on the Egyptian Nile River in Cairo June 13. The Nile, called 'God's gift to Egypt,' helped the nation become one of the first agricultural civilizations, and it still supports most farming there.

 Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

 Egypt is newly worried about a huge Ethiopian dam now under construction on the Nile’s main tributary – a concern that reflects arid Egypt’s overwhelming reliance on the world's longest river.

 The Christian Science Monitor
Weekly Digital Edition

 Egypt and the Nile are bound together: The Nile, called "God's gift to Egypt," helped the nation become one of the first agricultural civilizations, and it still supports most farming there.

 But Ethiopia – the source of almost 86 percent of the water flowing to Egypt – is equally adamant that it has been denied a fair share of the river by agreements between Sudan and Egypt in the 1950s that divided the river between them.

 Ethiopia two years ago started building what will be Africa's largest dam on the Blue Nile. It is a clear indication, despite anger from Egypt, that upstream Nile countries will no longer simply accept what they feel are inequitable water-sharing deals.

 RECOMMENDED: Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.

 Ethiopia says its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, 20 miles from the Sudanese border, will not be used for irrigation. That means that once the 6,000-megawatt hydropower station is at full generating capacity, it will not consume precious water flowing to Egypt.

 Yet Ethiopia’s decision on how quickly or slowly to fill a needed reservoir with Nile water flowing toward Egypt, plus potential rates of evaporation, are major potential sources of contention between the two nations.

 After heated rhetoric, including military threats by Egypt and an unbending response by Ethiopia, the nations' two foreign ministers met last week. They agreed to study the dam’s potential impact – but only as construction proceeds.

 Ethiopia aims to fill the needed new dam reservoir quickly, in five years, to start generating power. Experts say five years is ambitious. They argue that wildly varying levels of rainfall in the Blue Nile basin requires a flexible approach. The job may take 20 years, in this view.

 To divert water into the new reservoir quickly, especially in low-rain years, may bring harm downstream, they say.

 Long-term strategy

 Yet in the long run, the Nile water can be conserved by moving storage away from inefficient dams such as the Aswan High Dam, which straddles the scorching border of Egypt and Sudan, and into cooler Ethiopia where there is lower evaporation.

 As for evaporation rates, no consensus or exact science exists. But more usage and storage in Sudan and Ethiopia – and a reduced volume at Aswan – could save some 4 billion cubic meters of water a year, some studies say.

 When it is filled, Ethiopia’s new reservoir or artificial lake will be about half the size of the US state of Rhode Island. Filling may start towards the end of next year, and swallow hills, forests, roads, bridges, and villages in this far-flung corner of western Ethiopia.

 Last month, Italian dam builder Salini Costrutorri hosted a ceremony to mark the diversion of the Blue Nile as part of the construction process.


 Flash point: the filling of the reservoir

 While that step raised ire in Egypt, it is more the reservoir filling that is a "major concern" to Sudan and Egypt, said an Ethiopian government official, Debretsion Gebremichael, who wore a red cap marked Salini in the sweltering opening ceremony.

 The volume of water to be captured in the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters (bcm), according to project documents. That figure is almost equivalent to the entire annual volume of the Nile that flows into Egypt's High Aswan Dam, or 84 bcm.

 If Ethiopia decided unilaterally to fill the reservoir as quickly as possible, that would be disastrous for Sudan and Egypt. It would consume the entire flow of the Blue Nile, or around 54 bcm, for more than a year.

 The Ethiopian ministry of water and energy says it wants to fill the reservoir over a period of five or six years. Mr. Debretsion says Ethiopia is willing to “accommodate” other nations.

 To fill the dam over a six-year period would mean 14 to 18 percent less Nile water moving to Egypt each of those years, if rainfall is average and the dam is filled evenly. That is the idea in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

 Experts say that idea may not be so simple. It is unlikely that water can be impounded evenly in an area where rainfall and river volumes vary dramatically, says Simon Langan, director of Nile Basin and East African studies at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

 Ethiopia's Blue Nile, for example, has run as high as 70 bcm in 1929, and as low as 30 bcm in 1972 and 1984, this from a 2008 study of sediment in the Nile by Abdalla Abdelsalam Ahmed, a UN water expert from Sudan.

 "They will draw ‘excess’ water during the wet season," Mr. Langan says. "With some proactive management, hopefully it could be varied even more with greater amounts of water in wet years and smaller amounts in drier summers."

 Most of the Blue Nile's flow follows a three-month rainy season in the Ethiopian highlands that ends around September.

 Filling the dam only during rainy season in wet years would mean "the effects on downstream users may be quite small," says Aanund Killingtveit, professor of hydrolics and environmental engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

 But that approach could take decades, argues Paul Block, an expert on from Drexel University in Philadelphia, who has been modeling the impact of the reservoir filling in light of climatic variability.

 The approach to capturing water needs to be "flexible" depending on how much rain falls in Ethiopia's Blue Nile basin, Langan says. If the first few years of filling were "drier years this could have drastic implications," agrees Mr. Block, who is a professor of civil engineering and an expert on climate risk modeling and hydrologic forecasting.

 Unpredictable future rainfull patterns complicate a scenario where Ethiopia wants to fill the dam as quickly as possible to generate electricity for export.

 If Ethiopia fills the dam with 25 percent flow of the Blue Nile per year, the dam will fill in 11 years, says Block; if Ethiopia diverts only 10 percent, the time will extend past two decades, he figures.

 Michael Hammond, a hydrologist from Exeter University in the UK, says such figures are about right. Yet even with less water in Aswan's reservoir, which holds a huge 150 bcm, Egypt may not lose out.

 "My understanding is that if the impoundment is managed and operated well, Egypt could be assured a highly reliable supply of 55 bcm per year," Mr. Hammond argues. This is the figure Egypt set in a historic 1959 deal with Sudan.

 Evaporation rates can be managed by small-scale conservation and reduce the some-500 bcm current loss in Ethiopia's highlands, says Langan. When the Renaissance dam is at full volume, it may have a loss only a fifth of the Aswan Dam’s evaporation, or 10 bcm a year, according to the numbers offered by Block, whose studies are about to be peer-reviewed.

 Some, such as former president and leading opponent of the government Negasso Gidada, say the hype and pressure of the campaign makes it very difficult for people to opt out. However, the attitude of a lady selling a handful of vegetables on the streets of one of Addis Ababa's most dilapidated districts is typical: "I would give more money if could afford to." So far, she has donated 30 birr (equivalent to $1.73).


 The populist approach may alarm Western liberals, but unity in pursuit of national goals is key to Meles' "developmental state."

The bond-buying will also foster a savings culture, Bereket hopes. At less than 10 percent of gross domestic product, national savings are under half the rate that funded the investment of much-admired Asian tigers.

 So far, no friction with the two downstream nations, Sudan and Egypt, has resulted. A joint committee between the three countries has been set up to study the dam, which Ethiopia insists will benefit all by generating electricity for the region and reducing evaporation due to its deep, elevated reservoir. Indeed, such are the mutual gains, Sudan and Egypt should rightfully cover half the costs of the project, Meles believes. Despite the cordiality, given the political instability in Khartoum and Cairo, relations could rapidly deteriorate.

 The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam also has its detractors and dangers.

 The Economist claims a flaw is that export deals have not been struck. However, links with Djibouti, Sudan, and Kenya are complete or underway, and the dam's scheduled 2017 completion date gives the power pool time to advance regional integration.

 Also of concern is whether the government will conduct thorough technical studies and environment and social impact assessments. Institutions like the World Bank require them. But government supporters consider these types of activities unacceptable conditions imposed by a hypocritical, carbon-emitting West - not responsible due diligence. Unconditional Chinese funds are much-preferred.

 Although the desire to be unshackled is admirable, the impatience could be costly. At the GERD site buzzing with construction activity in late June - 3 months into the project - an Italian engineer explained his team were surveying the rock edifices the dam will bind to. Yes, it was possible they would be found unsuitable, he casually admitted.

 For International Rivers, which works "to stop destructive dams," the project is following worst international practice. "No-bid contract, an air of secrecy, and repression of debate. Such a flawed planning process could doom the project from the start," says its Africa campaigner Lori Pottinger.

 There's also concern about how the country will pay for the dam given it will cost around 70 percent of this year's government budget. Optimists such as Ernst and Young's Zemedeneh Negatu say continued double-digit economic growth will make it affordable. Private banks, which have been forced to lend to the government for development projects, will be an important source of funds.

 But the former World Bank country director Ken Ohashi says a need for foreign loans to finance Ethiopia's ambitious infrastructure projects could lead to debt problems. To the guffaws of a parliament containing one opposition member, Meles dismissed the concerns as the parting shot of a disgruntled neo-liberal.


Ethiopia's 'grand dam' rouses citizens, dismays critics

 In April, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced plans to build Africa's largest hydropower plant along the Blue Nile river. The project is popular, but lack of transparency is a concern.

 By William Davison, Correspondent / January 12, 2012

 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 In the western fringe of Ethiopia on the banks of the Blue Nile river, the nation's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi thundered that the country would overcome all obstacles to complete Africa's largest hydropower plant.

 The Christian Science Monitor
Weekly Digital Edition

 "No matter how poor we are, in the Ethiopian traditions of resolve, the Ethiopian people will pay any sacrifice," he said. "I have no doubt they will, with one voice, say: 'Build the Dam!'"

 The government portrays the dam as a 5,900-foot long, 475-foot high beacon of progress that will banish the country's reputation for famine and dependency. The $4.8 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will lift the country out of poverty, the government argues, by electrifying the country's industrialization and making Ethiopia a regional power-hub - and all without a drop of the aid Ethiopia is synonymous in the West for.

 But critics worry that the country may have taken self-sufficiency and ambition a bit too far in the way it pushed ahead with its largest-ever project unilaterally and with little transparent planning.

 Secrecy has shrouded the 5,250-megawatt plant, nearly 20 miles from the Sudanese border. Although the site was identified in 1964, the decision to go ahead with what had been known as Project X became public less than a month before construction began on April 2.

 Its unveiling shocked a host of interested parties.

 At a launch in Addis Ababa, the Egyptian embassy's spokesman was astonished to learn a reservoir more than twice the size of Singapore would be created by a barrage Cairo had not been consulted on. Over four-fifths of the water for the Nile, Egypt's lifeblood, comes from Ethiopia's highlands, leading to historic tensions over usage.

 Also uninformed was the Eastern Africa Power Pool, which was just putting the finishing touches on a regional integration study that leans heavily on exported Ethiopian hydropower. "We look forward to getting more information so we can factor it into our master plan,” Jasper Oduor, its Executive Secretary, said.

 Similarly, the unilateral move was a blow to the Nile Basin Initiative, which is supposed to establish cooperative management of the river, and Norwegian consultants whose ongoing studies on a potential cascade of Blue Nile dams were rendered obsolete by the announcement.

 The covert approach may have had the twin purposes of minimizing foreign opposition to the scheme while maximizing the impact of its announcement on Ethiopians - if so, it seems to be working.

 Since Meles' speech, the public has been bombarded with advertisements, posters, reports, and speeches about the dam, as the state sells bonds to partially fund it. Most of a patriotic citizenry, who consider Egypt's domination of the Nile an acute injustice, approve of the scheme - even opposition politicians.

 "We need this resource to lift people out of the abject poverty we have been wallowing in for centuries,” former member of parliament Temesgen Zewdie says. “There’s no question it’s an idea the Ethiopian people support.”

 The popular cause combined with the ruling party's extensive influence - around 1 in every 17 Ethiopians is a member - has made for a highly-effective fundraising campaign. Often following a collective decision at staff meetings, public and private sector workers have bought bonds, taking the total raised to 7 billion Ethiopian birr ($408 million) in September, according to Bereket Simon, a longstanding ally of Meles and co-head of a GERD Public Mobilization Council.


 Ethiopia: Egyptian-Ethiopian Dialogue Continues

 25 June 2013

 An Ethiopian delegation will meet Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Ali Al-Hefni on Wednesday, according to a ministry statement released on Monday.

 The statement announced that meeting, convened at the invitation of The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, comes as part of developing bi-lateral relations in various fields including the academic field. The delegation includes both Ethiopian diplomats and academics.

  State-run agency MENA reported that during its 3-day visit, the Ethiopian delegation, led by Sebhat Nega, the Executive Director of the Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development (EIIPD) will discuss with officials issues of mutual concern, as well as security issues faced on the African continent.

  Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia Mohamed Idris said the delegation's visit comes as part of the Embassy's efforts to deal with bi-lateral relations comprehensively, he told MENA.

 He added that the multiple, official, diplomatic and popular efforts that were made since the 2011 Revolution are what allowed the two countries to overcome the last crisis and start constructive dialogue.

A number of concerns have been raised by Egypt and Sudan, both downstream countries, regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam since the start of its construction in April 2011. In a ceremony in late May, the Ethiopian government began diverting waters from one of the Nile's main tributaries, the Blue Nile.

 Following his visits to Ethiopia last week, Amr addressed the Egyptian public with the message that Ethiopia has no intention in harming Egypt or Sudan. The Egyptian and Ethiopian foreign ministries said in a joint statement that Egypt and Sudan's water security concerns and Ethiopia's "developmental interests will be taken into consideration" when it comes to the dam.


 Egypt: Depression Grips Forgotten Refugees Stranded At Egyptian-Libyan Border

 By Ahmad Abughazaleh and Dalia Al Achi, 26 June 2013

 press release

 Sallum, Egypt — Around 9 a.m. Maha* went to the clinic in Sallum refugee camp just inside Egypt's border with Libya and doused herself with gasoline; only quick intervention by clinic volunteers stopped the Sudanese refugee before she could strike a match.

 "I have nowhere to go and nothing to do. Life seems to have stopped in this place, we are in an invisible spot in the world and everybody turned their back on us," Maha told UNHCR after her suicide attempt.

 Maha's despair is not unique. Since Sallum was established in the wake of the revolution in Libya to host people fleeing the growing violence, UNHCR was able to resettle some 900 refugees from the camp to third countries. But most of the current 900 refugees and 350 asylum-seekers at Sallum have found themselves in legal limbo.

 Egypt, hoping to discourage the entry of more asylum-seekers from Libya, said anyone entering the camp after October 23, 2011 could not be proposed for resettlement to another country. And last December, the Egyptian government asked the UN refugee agency to stop registering those who reach Sallum from seeking refugee status. But more people continue to arrive and there are currently around 60 who are not registered and do not receive any assistance.

 Maha, now in her late 40s, fled to Sallum with her husband on October 27, 2011 to escape violence and threats in Libya - just after the door for resettlement was closed.

 It was their second forced displacement, having left Sudan after her husband escaped from an armed group that had conscripted him for a conflict in the Nuba Mountains. Maha and her husband had lived peacefully with other workers on a farm in Koufra, Libya until the revolution. Then they were attacked by revolutionaries who accused them of backing the late dictator Gaddafi - a charge often made towards sub-Saharan Africans living in Libya.

 The woman's attempted self-immolation is just one example of the depression spreading among refugees at Sallum, who are all waiting between borders for a solution to their plight. UNHCR is hopeful of progress in negotiations with Egyptian authorities to resolve the situation.

 "Operating and living conditions in Sallum camp are extremely difficult. We are working hard in order to be able to close the camp by the first quarter of next year. In the meantime, we hope to reach a common understanding with the Egyptian government on the asylum procedures for the remaining asylum-seekers," said Mohamed Dayri, UNHCR's Cairo-based regional representative.

 After living for up to two years inside the camp, the strains of depression, anxiety, and insomnia are showing. These psychological problems have erupted into verbal and physical abuse against medical staff, as well as food distribution and protection teams of UNHCR by asylum-seekers who arrived after December 2012 when they could no longer be registered.

"The stress of having no hope or opportunity to solve their case is the reason for their act. Since we were asked not to register them, these people don't receive the daily meals and other assistance. Thus they tried to draw attention to their cases," said Dinesh Shrestha, head of UNHCR's Sallum office.

 Aqwal Ding* is among those who cannot even apply for refugee status; she wonders if she made the right choice when she decided to come to Egypt, but does not know what else she could have done.

 In 2010, her seven-year-old daughter Dalia was killed in Abyei, a border region between Sudan and South Sudan. Fearing more violence, she left Sudan with her husband and two remaining daughters and settled in Zawiya in western Libya.

 One day during the Libyan war, her husband left the house to go to work and never came back. After months of waiting, Ding fled with her daughters to Egypt. On arriving in Sallum in December 2012, she found herself unable to leave the border camp to enter Egypt or to be proposed for resettlement; she is stranded.

 "Refugees in Sallum are very anxious about the proximity of Libya and the idea of staying there indefinitely is unbearable. The uncertainty about their situation, having to wait in very difficult conditions adds to their despair," said Diane Tayeby, a psychological consultant hired by UNHCR to assess the mental state of some 40 refugees in the camp.

 "Although these people have been let down so many times, they are still taking the risk to trust again when they step into the counselling room. I can still see a glimpse of hope in their eyes and I cling to this glimmer of light."

 *Name changed for protection reasons 


Egypt: Mursi Opponents Torch Brotherhood's Party HQ

 Aswat Masriya

 June 26, 2013

 Opponents of President Mohamed Mursi torched late on Tuesday Sharqiya's headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm.

 The attack followed the release of Abdel Rahman al-Ber, a member of the Brotherhood's guidance council, who was detained along with others by the president's opponents inside a mosque.

 Ahmed Gaber al-Hag from the FJP said that "thugs and remnants of the former regime were able to torch the party's headquarters in Ibrahimiya City after the release of the Sheikh and the worshipers."

 Hag told Aswat Masriya that the police released the detainees three hours late which forced pro-Mursi supporters to throw rocks at the mosque where the men were detained.