Egypt media applaud tough security check on John Kerry

Screengrab of CBC Extra news programme, showing John Kerry being checked by security at the presidential palace Egyptian CBC Extra TV showed John Kerry being checked by security at the palace

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A highly unusual security check that US Secretary of State John Kerry and his senior aides were subjected to at the presidential palace in Cairo before meeting Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has made a splash in the local press.

The top US diplomat is usually treated with every courtesy in Cairo, but the front-page coverage in both private and state-owned papers hovers between factual reports and applause, describing the check with a hand-held metal detector as a "surprise" and saying that Mr Kerry had had to "comply" with orders of the security officers.

A note of pride can also be detected in the headlines.

"Checking Kerry at the doors of 'al-Ittihadiyah'," announces private daily Al-Tahrir. The report mentions twice that "Kerry and his team complied" with the procedures.

Similarly, privately-owned daily Al-Dustur's headline proclaims in red letters: "A heavy surprise: John Kerry subject to strict inspection procedures before his meeting with Al-Sisi".

The paper complements the report with a photo showing Kerry passing through the security scanner at the doors of Al-Ittihadiyah Palace.

And, again in red ink, private daily Al-Yawm al-Sabi adds to its headline: "Bravo Sisi"

State-owned newspapers echo their private brethren: "Checking Kerry and his aides before meeting Al-Sisi", daily Al-Akhbar's headline says.

Egyptian newspaper front pages Egyptian paper Al-Yawm al-Sabi's headline (top right) says 'Kerry checked in front of the president's office'
'Spying country'

The news also galvanised social media users, most of whom cheered the incident, treating it as proof of national pride and a kick in the teeth for the USA.

Commenting on Al-Shuruq's official Facebook page, Said Hashim said that Egypt was the only country standing up to US-Israeli "plots".

"Egypt is still the leader of the Arab countries," he wrote.

Pictures and a video showing the "frisking" have been widely circulated on Facebook and Twitter, provoking thousands of comments.

Most carry a general air of satisfaction with the snub to Mr Kerry, which is reflected in comic pictures created to reflect the unusual procedure.

Users have also taken the opportunity to air their distrust of the US as a "spying country".

"Kerry is sad he and his aides have been inspected, so what? You inspect entire countries for a lie that you say and believe. Let us use our right #Kerry_checked," wrote Twitter user Usama Awad (‏@Osamawad_4), who has more than 2,500 followers.

Egyptian twitter user Nadia @Belovedegy, who has more than 67,000 followers, commented: "#Kerry_checked is a message in itself to the USA that it is a spying country and, hence, we must be sure that its officials are not carrying spying devices."

And in the same vein, twitter user Amr A (‏@BIG_MR_A) wrote: "Checking Kerry is a message to the USA that there is a lack of trust between us #Kerry_checked."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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