US defense secretary pushes referendum transparency to Sisi

Brotherhood reportedly running operations out of north London apartment.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with Egypt’s Minister of Defense Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday, emphasizing the importance of the upcoming constitutional referendum, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hagel stressed the importance of a transparent referendum and sought an assurance that election observers would have full access during the process, according to a Pentagon statement issued by press secretary John Kirby.
They both reaffirmed commitment to strong US-Egyptian ties.
The constitutional referendum is the first step for the Egyptian political transition since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July.
Separately, in Sinai two jihadists were killed when an explosive device they were carrying exploded prematurely while they were riding a motorcycle toward an army checkpoint on Monday, military sources quoted by the Aswat Masriya website said.
In another incident near Rafah, Egyptian security forces said that unknown assailants killed five jihadists and injured two while they were traveling in a pickup truck, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Monday.
The bodies of the killed and wounded have not been found and are believed to have been transported to an unknown location.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was designated a terrorist organization in Egypt, has relocated a main headquarters to an apartment in a north London suburb, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph on Sunday.
As the organization faces a massive crackdown in Egypt, with many of its leaders behind bars, those that escaped Egypt have chosen London as a place to regroup.
The apartment is located in the suburb of Cricklewood, and operations are run by relatives of two of Morsi’s arrested aides.
One of the relatives told the Daily Telegraph that they chose London because it is “the capital of a free democracy that values human rights and social justice.”
Ibrahim Mounir, a leader in the international wing of the organization, said that although orders still come from Egyptbased leaders, its London base is a safe place to meet and run operations.