News / Middle East

    Police Killed in Sinai Given Hero's Welcome in Cairo

    The caskets of 25 policemen killed early Monday morning near the north Sinai town of Rafah are carried after arriving at Almaza military airport in Cairo August 19, 2013.
    The caskets of 25 policemen killed early Monday morning near the north Sinai town of Rafah are carried after arriving at Almaza military airport in Cairo August 19, 2013.
    Al Pessin
    The bodies of 24 Egyptian policemen killed by suspected Islamist gunmen in the Sinai desert were given a hero's welcome Monday night in Cairo, as the government continued its information campaign against opponents of the July 3 military takeover.

    The flag-draped coffins were carried by honor guards in a solemn ceremony broadcast live on numerous television channels. The mournful song repeats the word for “my country.”

    Broadcasting the same video, the TV channels carried logos in Arabic or English reading “Egypt Fighting Terrorism.”

    The policemen were riding in buses when they were stopped and killed by armed men early Monday.

    The attackers are believed to be members of a militant Islamist militia, of the kind critics say the deposed president, Mohammed Morsi, allowed to flourish in the Sinai. The army deposed Morsi last month, backed by large-scale public demonstrations, and forcibly ended weeks of sit-in protests by his supporters last Wednesday.

    Pro-Morsi television stations were closed right after the takeover, and remaining outlets are keeping to the government line, portraying his supporters as terrorists - although the vast majority of more than 700 protesters killed in recent days were unarmed. Nearly 100 members of the security forces also have died in a series of clashes.

    It is difficult to know whether it was Morsi's policies or the information campaign, or both, that led many Egyptians to support the army takeover. But it is reflected in many conversations, including one with toy store manager Shamieh on a typical Cairo shopping street.

    “Terrorism should be faced. President Morsi is the beginning of terrorism. So the government replacing Morsi is the first step toward giving up the terrorism of Egypt," said Shamieh.

    She says her business is down more than 50 percent, but she believes the army's action will be good for business, and for the country, in the long term.

    For some, Shamieh's words will contrast with her appearance. She wears a modest Islamic dress and a traditional 'hijab' scarf covering her hair and neck. But she says no one should make assumptions about her political views based on her appearance.

    "Morsi has no relation with my hijab. My Islam, in my hijab, in my attitude, in my appearance, doesn't relate to Morsi at all," she said.

    Several hours before the Sinai incident, security forces killed about 36 Islamist prisoners who allegedly tried to escape while being transported between prisons. Morsi's core support group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is leading protests against the army takeover, called for an independent investigation.

    Meanwhile, the lawyer for former President Hosni Mubarak says he could be released from prison soon because a court cleared him of corruption charges. But he faces other charges related to the 2011 revolution, and his release with his former allies in the army back in government, would further polarize the country.

    At London's King's College, conflict expert Stacey Gutkowski says the military should make a gesture of reconciliation, and the Muslim Brotherhood should accept it.

    “The army is not equipped to govern. The army is now governing as armies do, which is on the streets. The army must show restraint. The Brotherhood must show restraint, calling its people off the streets. And the liberal opposition must organize itself, and be given the space institutionally to organize itself as a proper political party," said Gutkowski.

    The military leader, General Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, has promised elections and says there will be “room for everyone” to participate. But many are skeptical, and the Muslim Brotherhood is insisting that the deposed president be reinstated.

    There is unaccustomed fear on the streets of Cairo, with people warning each other to keep away from certain areas and not to stay out after the 7 pm curfew.

    There is widespread dissatisfaction with Morsi's one-year tenure, particularly his moves to increase the influence of conservative Islam, his alleged empowerment of the Sinai militias and his failure to improve the economy and relieve widespread poverty.

    No one knows where the balance of public opinion really lies, but such feelings made it possible, some say necessary, for the military to move against Egypt's first freely elected president.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Me
    August 20, 2013 8:45 AM
    "the government continued its information campaign against opponents of the July 3 military takeover."

    What a complete disgrace, US taxes are funding both the Egyptian military junta dictatorship and this awfully complicit propaganda... Pathetic and appalling.

    by: Will Rice from: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    August 19, 2013 10:49 PM
    The song you mentioned is the Egyptian national anthem -lyrics written in 1878, music in 1923, adopted as anthem in 1923 and again in 1979. It speaks entirely of devotion to nation and people - with not one reference to a divinity.

    "My homeland, my homeland, my homeland, you have my love and my heart."

    by: AL from: EGYPT
    August 19, 2013 9:11 PM
    "as the government continued its information campaign against opponents of the July 3 military takeover"

    Please check the sources you are getting your info from. From your wording it seems you are getting it from "the opponents of the July 3 military takeover". What happened in Egypt was people uprising in millions against a tyrant dictator supported by the West. No wonder your reporting attitude! Then the police followed by the army were forced to follow the will of the people. They did that after three days of "Peaceful" revolution. SO PLEASE STOP FALSIFYING FACTS AND GET IT STRAIGHT ONCE AND FOR ALL.
    WHY DID NOT YOU REPORT ON THE 80+ CHURCHES & MONASTARIES THAT WERE BURNT IN EGYPT!
    WHY DID NOT YOU REPORT ON THE GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS THAT THOSE THUGS PUT ON FIRE!
    WHY DO NOT YOU REPORT ON THE INOCENT PEOPLE THEY TERRORIZED AND KILLED
    WHY DO NOT YOU REPORT ON THE POLICEMEN THEY TORTURED AND KILLED THEN MUTILATED THEIR BODIES!
    In Response

    by: Me
    August 20, 2013 8:52 AM
    According to the new dictator for the military junta and self-proclaimed minister of defense Sisi they were "33 millions according to CNN", a ludicrously debunked lie propagandized by the military junta and believed only by brainwashed idiots. Congrats.

    by: Bert from: Not Egypt
    August 19, 2013 7:30 PM
    The bodies of 24 Egyptian policemen killed by suspected Islamist gunmen in the Sinai dessert

    Do the idiots writing these articles ever proofread them?
    I'll have whipped cream on my Sinai Dessert please.

    by: jesus.a.torres from: Venezuela
    August 19, 2013 2:47 PM
    All of those things were expected to happen.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 19, 2013 2:21 PM
    From the point that Morsi empowered the militias that plagued the Sinai Peninsula and the fact that pro-Morsi islamist groups -including the Muslim Brotherhood - have terrorized and killed dozens of law enforcement officers in defense of Morsi, we can now safely say for sure Morsi has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt to be what the Egyptians really dreaded him to be. Thank God for little mercies, the issue has been settled as it has been seen clearly why neither Egyptians nor the world of democracies want Morsi or his Muslim Brotherhood.

    Goes to prove the second point of democracy under the Muslim Brotherhood was sham. If democracy is the one Egypt experienced under the Muslim Brotherhood, then the country is much better off under military dictatorship. For Egypt under the brotherhood's form of democracy was like democracy in Iran where, even though officers are elected periodically, they have no say in how their country is run, as all decisions must be made by the hardline islamist juggernaut, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. So where is the democracy in this country?

    If the Muslim Brotherhood will run an extremist and unpopular constitution that promotes only islamist leanings to the exclusion of the generality of the Egyptian people, what is democratic in them? Did someone say they're agreeing to negotiation? Egypt is better off without them, unless they're going to renounce terror both in principle and practice. More than just that, they should account for the 24+ security personnel killed and the hundreds both in the pro-demonstration camps and the security side, for it is their game-plan.to destroy and impose it on others

    by: ali baba from: new york
    August 19, 2013 2:01 PM
    now I agree with president Obama that Muslim brotherhood and radical muslin that they are peaceful people and strong believer of democracy
    In Response

    by: mounir from: egypt
    August 20, 2013 7:54 AM
    don't talk about things or judge on something you're not in the heart of the event !!!

    by: jack siler from: ct
    August 19, 2013 1:59 PM
    “The medicine prescribed by democracy was not suitable for this society’s sickness.”
    Matiullah Turab (Afghani)

    "One size fits all" may be the evangelists' song, but it only demonstrates the egomania of the evangelist.

    by: Anonymous
    August 19, 2013 1:28 PM
    Why do problems have to be solved by killing people? I come from a war torn country and to this day I am still ashamed and embarrassed by all the things that happened there. If people don’t feel regret over what has happened so far in Egypt, they soon will. Control and a solution need to happen otherwise the country will blow its self up.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora