John Brennan was in Egypt the weekend of January 16/17 (Intelligence Online) meeting with President al Sisi and Mukhabarat director Khaled Fawzi.

Coincidentally, the Mecid Aslanov (of Bilal Erdogan’s BMZ Group. Source: Today’s Zaman via Hellenic Shipping News) was passing through the Suez Canal (Jan 17, 05:04 UTC), following a period of irregular AIS data in the Red Sea. It is on course to the Ukraine (port of Izmail, ETA Jan 22, 18:00) along with the Armada Fair, another BMZ Group tanker (Source: Today’s Zaman), scheduled to arrive at the port of Ilichevsk (ETA Jan 24, 08:00) after its stop in Izmir, Turkey (Jan 20, 16:00 UTC).

See our previous updates (1/9/16, 12/31/15, 12/17,15) on the irregular navigation of these ships.

Ship itinerary and AIS data courtesy of and


Update, Jan 26: We almost quipped, in reference to the Brennan’s visit, “expect mayhem to follow,” and should have followed the prognostic impulse…

Ahram Online (Friday 22 Jan 2016) – Two Egypt-based militant groups claim responsibility for Giza attack

In a statement issued on Friday and published on its alleged Twitter accounts, Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis “ABM” claims that 10 Egyptian police personnel were killed when they entered a “booby-trapped” house in Marioutiya Thursday night.

An hour after the announcement by ABM another militant group called “Revolutionary Punishment” claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released on Facebook.

The group claimed that it lured police to the apartment at which point two of its members carried out a suicide bombing which killed a former state security police officer, among others.

According to the official statement of Egypt’s prosecution, ten people, including seven policemen and three civilians, were killed in the explosion…

Hitherto, most of the ISIS affiliated ABM attacks have been confined to the Sinai. This attack however occurred less than 10 kilometers from the Pyramids of Giza, paralleling the recent ISIS attack in the tourist district near the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (see our Jan. 19 installment).

Indicative that more Giza attacks were in the works, on Sunday, January 24th, Egyptian police raided a house, killing its resident, in the town of Kerdasa in Giza, after receiving a tip that it was being used as a storage space for IEDs. As reported by Ahram Online… Explosives found during Kerdasa raid resemble those used in Haram bombing: Egypt police

Daily News Egypt4 men killed in police raids in Giza and Beni Suef

Other incidents in this time frame, from the Twitter feed of Israeli based Oded Berkowitz

#Egypt- IED explosion recorded in Agouza District of #Giza/#Cairo, no casualties reported

#Egypt- explosion recorded in central #Damietta, likely of the gas pipeline leading to #PortSaid. Reason unclear

A motivating factor for Brennan’s visit?…

TASSRussia, Egypt to sign memorandum on Russian industrial zone in Egypt soon

CAIRO, January 24. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt will sign a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a Russian industrial zone in the area of the Suez Canal during a regular session of the intergovernmental commission due to be held on January 31-February 2 in Cairo, well-informed sources in Cairo told TASS on Sunday…

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