The Egyptian government's active opposition to terrorism, and its effective intelligence and security services, made Egypt an unattractive locale for terrorist groups, however Egypt's northern Sinai region was a base for the smuggling of arms and explosives into Gaza, and a transit point for Gazan Palestinians. Palestinian officials from HAMAS have also carried large amounts of cash across the border. The smuggling of humans, weapons, and other contraband through the Sinai into Israel and the Gaza Strip has created criminal networks that may be associated with terrorist groups in the region. In April, Egypt announced it had discovered a 49-member Hizballah cell in Egypt that was supplying weapons to Gaza, and in July, government prosecutors said that 26 members of the cell had been detained and transferred to a State Security Court for trial.

In February, a bomb exploded in the popular Khan El Khalil market place, killing a young French tourist and wounding a number of other foreign tourists. In May, Egyptian authorities announced the arrest of seven suspects but later ordered their release. On May 10, a bomb exploded in a car parked near the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary in Cairo's Zeitoun neighborhood. There were no injuries, minimal property damage, and no claims of responsibility.

In the past six years, Egypt has tightened its terrorist finance regulations in keeping with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. In 2008, Egypt strengthened its anti-money laundering legislation by specifically adding terrorism financing to the list of punishable crimes. Egypt regularly informed its own financial institutions of any individuals or entities that are designated by any of the UN sanctions committees.

Egypt maintained strengthened security measures in the Suez Canal and continued to institute more stringent port security.

The Egyptian judicial system does not allow plea bargaining, and terrorists have historically been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Terrorism defendants may be tried in military tribunals or emergency courts. In terms of evidence for counterterrorism cases in the United States., Egypt's judicial system cooperated within the framework of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

Many of the Egyptian president's far-reaching counterterrorism powers come from the country's Emergency Law, which has been in force since 1981 and was renewed by Parliament for two years in June 2008. President Mubarak has pledged to lift the Emergency Law and has called for new counterterrorism legislation to replace the Emergency Law, noting that Egypt should follow the example of other countries that have recently passed comprehensive laws to combat terrorism. Such legislation reportedly has been drafted but not submitted or approved by Egypt's Parliament.


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