Saturday, March 09, 2013

9-Mar-13: Egypt has just declared a state of emergency in Sinai

From today's New York Times: An EPA photo that shows "football fans"
"reacting" to the Cairo verdict
We have been posting regularly about how Israel's border with Egypt is spiraling down into chaos. 

Here's the latest development in the Sinai following the update that we posted just a few days ago (see "6-Mar-13: In Sinai, it's mainly the Egyptian law enforcement services that prevent terrorists from entirely taking over... and now they're on strike").

Egypt raises state of emergency in Sinai    
CAIRO | Sat Mar 9, 2013 5:48pm IST
(Reuters) - Egypt's Interior Ministry raised a state of emergency in the Sinai peninsula on Saturday, saying it had intelligence that jihadists might attack police there, state news agency MENA reported. "The Minister of Interior has raised the level of emergency in North and South Sinai after receiving information that jihadist groups intend to attack police buildings there," Interior Ministry official General Osama Ismail said, according to MENA.
The Egyptian news media are giving it very little coverage at this hour. They're focused instead on the rioting in Cairo and Port Said where a court this morning confirmed death sentences on 21 people found guilty of causing Egypt's worst ever football riot at a match a year ago.

Thousands of football fans have taken to Cairo's streets in protest today, before setting fire to the football federation headquarters. In Port Said, residents tried to block the canal and attacked the football stadium. Alahram says three people, including an eight-year-old, have been killed so far in the riots in Cairo. Fighting is going on as we write this, in the vicinity of the Qasr El-Nil bridge in the center of Caio. 24 of the defendants were sentenced today to jail, including two senior police officers who received 15 years.

The New York Times is reporting this evening that protestors are
chanting for the end of military rule. But on Saturday, a court ruling about a soccer riot set off angry mobs that burned two buildings in Cairo and threatened the Suez Canal here, many in the crowd here said they had changed their minds. They argued that a military coup might now be the best hope to restore order.
It's hard to see all of this producing a good result.

UPDATE (Saturday night, March 9, 2013): ThisOngoingWar's prize for optimist of the month goes to an Egyptian travel industry entrepreneur interviewed on an Israeli news site in an article published today under the headline "Egypt tries to lure Israelis back to the Sinai". Extract:
The peninsula has seen a period of lawlessness following the revolution, highlighted by kidnappings of Westerners and terror attacks against Egyptian and international security forces. For that reason, its tourism officials are trying to start by luring the Arab-Israeli population, a public perhaps less likely to heed the strict warning. I call on our beloved Arab-Israeli brothers to come and honor us with their presence,” said Mohammed Hamdi, a Cairo-based travel agent. “As you can see, the security here is good, Allah be praised.”

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