News / Africa

Amid Protests, Egypt Pursues Crackdown in Sinai

Protesters hold placards with the symbol of Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where supporters of Egypt's ousted President Morsi held a sit-in that was violently dispersed, Cairo, Sept. 13, 2013.
Protesters hold placards with the symbol of Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where supporters of Egypt's ousted President Morsi held a sit-in that was violently dispersed, Cairo, Sept. 13, 2013.
Egyptian troops and helicopter gunships attacked Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday in a drive to crush a security threat now spilling over into the rest of the country.
Three soldiers were wounded in clashes in three separate villages, security officials said.
Islamist militant attacks have increased in the desert region adjoining Israel and the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in Egypt since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his rule.
Rocket and grenade attacks on soldiers and policemen take place in the Sinai nearly every day and about 50 have been killed since July. A Sinai-based militant group claimed responsibility for a failed suicide bombing attack on the interior minister in Cairo last week.
In the latest operation, security forces detained two wanted men and seized a rocket, dynamite used to build bombs, and 200 books on Islamic fundamentalism, security officials said.
Authorities are also focused on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which had held power for just over a year when Morsi was ousted.
Thousands of pro-Morsi protesters marched after Friday prayers in several areas of Cairo after authorities boosted security in sites where crowds had gathered in the past.
Demonstrations were also held in the cities of Fayoum, Alexandria, Assiut and Qena. State television said clashes broke out between Brotherhood supporters and residents of the Nile Delta town of Mahala.
Crackdown on brotherhood
Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters and arrested thousands in one of the toughest crackdowns the group has faced in its 85-year history. It denies accusations that it has carried out terrorist acts.
Many Egyptians, disillusioned with Morsi's moves to give himself sweeping powers and his mismanagement of the economy, were relieved when he was removed and then detained.
The general who toppled him and promised a political “road map” that would lead to elections early next year, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, enjoys widespread popularity. Speculation is growing that he will run for president.
Many Brotherhood members went underground. But some still take part in marches, a risky step in a country where the authorities seem determined to crush the Islamists.
“Down, down with military rule!” shouted the demonstrators in Cairo.
Some walked to a military hospital and wrote graffiti on a wall reading: “The coup is terrorism and Sisi is a killer.”
The government imposed a nationwide state of emergency for a month on Aug. 14, and on Thursday extended it by two months because of the security situation.
Al-Qaida, has taken notice of the political turmoil in Egypt, a U.S. ally.
Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has described the army-installed government's crackdown against the Brotherhood as a “brutal crime” and urged Egyptians to resist what he called a campaign against Islam.
'Long drama awaits'
In an audio speech released a day after the 12th anniversary of al-Qaida's Sept. 11 strikes on the United States, the former doctor condemned last month's violent break-up of protest camps in Cairo, in which hundreds were killed, and the arrests of Islamists.
“This is an episode of a long drama that awaits Egyptians if they don't unite to implement sharia Islamic law and free their country,” said Zawahri, himself an Egyptian who was tortured by authorities under ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Zawahri also said the United States was conspiring in Egypt and called on Egyptians to fight the “oppression.”
Egypt, the most populous Arab state, put down an insurgency by supporters of Zawahri in the 1990s.
If militant groups now turn their sights on Cairo, the move  would further hurt the tourism industry and reeling economy. In addition to the attack on the interior minister, several smaller bomb attacks have been mounted against police in the capital.
Gunmen fired on an army checkpoint in the southern city of Assiut on Friday, wounding two soldiers, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper said.

You May Like

Video Getting to Zero AIDS Infections

More than 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV, a disease that is both preventable and treatable

Children, Childhoods Lost in European Refugee Crisis

According to UNICEF, 190,000 children applied for political asylum in Europe in the first 9 months of this year - twice as many as last year

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs