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.

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Comment Sorting
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.
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 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.

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