Saturday, 25 October 2014

Egypt Imposes State of Emergency in Sinai As Terrorist Bomb Killed 30 Soldiers

Local Editor

MeetingEgypt declared a three-month state of emergency would begin Saturday in the north and center of the Sinai Peninsula after a suicide car bombing killed 30 soldiers.

The bombing on Friday was carried out by a suspected 'jihadist' who rammed a checkpoint with his explosives-packed vehicle, security officials said.

The emergency measures will begin Saturday at 0300 GMT "for a duration of three months", the presidency said in a statement in the wake of the deadliest attack on the security forces since the army deposed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi last year.

The decision was also taken to close the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the only route into the Palestinian territory not controlled by 'Israel'.

"The army and the police will take all necessary measures to tackle the dangers of terrorism and its financing, to preserve the security of the region... and protect the lives of citizens," the presidential decree said.

The attack, in an agricultural area northwest of El-Arish, the main town in north Sinai, killed at least 30 soldiers and left 29 others injured, medics said.

A senior army official and five officers were said to be among those wounded.

Gunmen also shot dead an officer and wounded two soldiers on Friday at another checkpoint south of El-Arish, security officials said.

- Three days of national mourning -

After Friday's attack, Sisi announced three days of national mourning and summoned a meeting of the national defense council -- the country's highest security body -- to discuss the killings, his office said.

The European Union and United States both condemned the attack.

"The United States continues to support the Egyptian government's efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in Egypt as part of our commitments to the strategic partnership between our two countries," the State Department said.

"We regret the loss of life and express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," an EU spokesman said.

It was the latest in a string of bloody attacks against security forces in Egypt.

In August 2013, just weeks after the army ousted Mursi, 25 soldiers were killed in the Sinai when gunmen opened fire at two buses transporting troops with automatic rifles and rocket launchers.

In July this year, 22 border guards were killed in the western desert near the border with Libya.

Militants killed 17 policemen in two bombings in the Sinai later the same month and released footage of the attacks.

Those bombings were claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the most active militant group in Egypt.

From the desert and mountainous Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel, the attacks have also extended to the capital and the Nile Delta to the north.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis tried to assassinate the interior minister in Cairo last year with a car bomb.

The group has expressed support for ISIL terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, although it has not formally pledged its allegiance.

The military has said it killed at least 22 militants in October, including an Ansar Beit al-Maqdis commander.

The group itself has acknowledged the arrest or deaths of militants, but the army has been unable so far to crush them despite a massive operation in which it has deployed attack helicopters and tanks.

- Deadly crackdown -

The latest bombing came after an Egyptian military court sentenced to death seven members of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis on Tuesday for carrying out deadly attacks on the army.

Since Mursi's ouster, more than 1,400 of his supporters have been killed in a crackdown by the authorities.

Over 15,000 others have been jailed, including Mursi and the top leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood, and more than 200 sentenced to death in speedy trials.

The authorities have also dissolved the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, since Sisi became Egypt's second democratically elected president following a landslide victory in a May vote.

Source: Agencies
25-10-2014 - 08:18 Last updated 25-10-2014 - 08:22 

Created on Friday, 24 October 2014 19:21

CAIRO,(ST)_Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has called for urgent national defense council meeting on Friday over north Sinai terrorist blasts that killed at least 34 Egyptian soldiers and wounded 50 others, media sources reported.
The sources clarified that the soldiers were killed and wounded when a car bomb exploded at a security checkpoint in Karm al-Kwardis in Sheikh Zuwaid north Sinai.
The bodies of the victims and the injured soldiers have been admitted to the military hospital and the general hospital in Al-Arish, the biggest city in North Sinai, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.
Medical teams are being sent to Al-Arish's military hospital, said Health Minister Adel El-Adawi.
Al-Arish's general hospital called on residents to donate blood in order to save the injured soldiers.
Earlier a terrorist blast ripped through two armored vehicles for the Egyptian army in Sheikh Zuwaid.
Today’s blasts are the third against security forces in just a week.
The agenda of the terrorist organizations in the northern edge of Sinai is similar to that of the Muslim brotherhood as they have carried out bloody attacks against the Egyptian security forces and army since the ouster of Mohammad Morsi in July 2013.
Al-Sisi calls urgent meeting over Sinia attack
After the attack, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for an urgent meeting with the National Defense Council to discuss the security situation in North Sinai, according to Egypt's state-run TV.
The National Defense Council is chaired by the President and includes the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament, Defense Minister and the Commanders of the Egyptian armed forces.
Clashes in Cairo, Alexandria  
On the other hand, fierce clashes broke out today between security forces and members of Muslim brotherhood in Cairo and Alexandria.
The member of Muslim brotherhood burned a car for a police officer.
Dozens of Muslim brotherhood members were arrested east and west Alexandria after they took part in protests during which they shouted slogans against police and armed forces.
later on, the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV channel reported that Egyptian warplanes struck sites of armed groups in al-Arish and Shiekh Zuwaid. 
Basma Qaddour  
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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