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Egypt Update: Security First; Curfew Shortened; Sinai Crossing Reopened

By: AP
By: AP
Map locates Rafah, Egypt, where 25 off-duty policemen were killed by militants; 2c x 3 1/2 inches; 96.3 mm x 88 mm;

Map locates Rafah, Egypt, where 25 off-duty policemen were killed by militants; 2c x 3 1/2 inches; 96.3 mm x 88 mm;

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's interim prime minister says his government is putting priority on increasing security to restore peace and improve the country's economy.
Hazem el-Beblawi also told reporters Saturday that a clear political process is needed to reassure the country's international allies.
He dismissed accusations that the release Thursday of the ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was a return to Egypt's old political order. He said Mubarak's release was in accordance with the law.
Mubarak was released this week following an appeal from his lawyers and is now under house arrest pending trial. His release raised tensions in a country already roiled by instability following the coup against Mubarak's successor, freely elected President Mohammed Morsi.
Protests by Morsi supporters continue. Government officials accuse the pro-Morsi camp of threatening national security.

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's government says a widely-imposed evening curfew will be shortened immediately by two hours as a response to citizens' demands as unrest in the country wanes.
The government said in a statement Saturday that the evening curfew would begin at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) rather than 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).
The statement says that an exception to the shorter hours will be in effect on Fridays, the first day of the weekend in Egypt and when protests typically take place.
The monthlong curfew had been 11 hours long daily. That cut into Cairo's bustling night life and the revenue of many businesses, hotels and restaurants.
Egypt has been rocked by unrest since the popularly supported July 3 military coup that toppled President Mohammed Morsi. Violence has waned in recent days.

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) -- An Egyptian official says the country's border crossing with Gaza, which was closed after a deadly attack on policemen this week, has reopened.
Another official says Egyptian troops killed four militants who attacked a military checkpoint in Sinai near the border with Gaza on Saturday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. He gave no details.
Attacks in the Sinai Peninsula have increased since a military coup ousted Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last month.
The Rafah border crossing was closed after militants ambushed and killed 25 policemen Monday in one of the deadliest attacks in Sinai recently.
Gen. Sami Metwali says the crossing will be open only for four hours every day because security concerns remain high in Sinai.


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