Saturday, October 19, 2013

19-Oct-13: Just across our southern border, still more terror attacks

Ismailia: aftermath [Image Source]
The escalating turmoil in Sinai continues to grow increasingly serious. [Click here for our previous Sinai entries.] In the past two days:
Gunmen Kill Police Officer in Egypt's SinaiEL-ARISH, Friday, October 18, 2013 | Associated Press | Suspected militants killed an Egyptian police officer Friday in the Sinai Peninsula, as Islamists held scattered protests around the country, calling for the reinstatement of the nation's ousted Islamist president. Gunmen opened fire at the police officer as he walked near his home in the city of el-Arish 
In Egypt, car bomb injures six military members; attacks raise fear of insurgencySaturday, October 19, 7:45 PM | Washington Post | A car rigged with explosives detonated outside a military intelligence headquarters in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia on Saturday, wounding at least six military personnel and highlighting the rise in militant attacks on security forces here. The official news agency MENA said security forces discovered a second car bomb while sweeping the area, but it did not explode... Five civilians were also injured. Egypt has seen a surge in militant attacks against military and police installations since the army deposed then-President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, in July and cracked down on thousands of his supporters. The assaults, though still apparently uncoordinated, are increasingly brazen and sophisticated, raising fears of an insurgency that could plunge Egypt into turmoil just 2 ½ years after its pro-democracy uprising... Home to roughly 350,000 people, Ismailia is a military garrison town and the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.
There's a striking photo essay on the English-language version of Germany's Der Spiegel, entitled "Laboratory of Violence: Egypt Struggles for Control of Sinai". Here's how it opens:
The Sinai Peninsula is both a vacation paradise and a haven for jihadists and gangs of thugs. The military and the police are trying to regain control over the region. But a new class of haughty warlords and a resentful public mean the state's chances are remote... The entire country has descended into violence since the military coup in July, but nowhere in Egypt is the fight being waged as bitterly and violently as on the Sinai Peninsula, which is roughly the size of the Republic of Ireland. The Sinai is a laboratory of violence, a test zone. This is where the military must prove it can establish law and order, now that it has eliminated the democratically elected Islamist government of former President Mohammed Morsi. The generals must demonstrate they can save the country -- and soon, or else the majority of Egyptians will lose the last vestige of confidence in the military, and so will Egypt's allies.

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