Res­i­dents, po­lice clash on Egyp­tian isle

In its state­ment, the In­te­rior Min­istry, which is in charge of the po­lice, said the res­i­dents at­tacked the po­lice force with firearms, bird­shot guns and rocks and that the of­fi­cers re­sponded with tear gas. It said up to 700 build­ing and land vi­o­la­tions we

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - HAMZA HEN­DAWI

CAIRO — Egyp­tian po­lice on Sunday fired tear gas to dis­perse a rock-pelt­ing crowd of res­i­dents on a Nile River is­land in Cairo, part of clashes that left one per­son dead and 50 oth­ers in­jured, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

The Health Min­istry said one res­i­dent was killed and that 19 oth­ers were wounded in the clashes on al-Waraq is­land on the north­ern fringes of the Egyp­tian cap­i­tal. It did not say how the man was killed.

An In­te­rior Min­istry state­ment said 31 po­lice­men and con­trac­tors who ar­rived on the is­land were in­jured in the clashes. The in­jured po­lice­men in­cluded two gen­er­als, it said. It also ac­knowl­edged the death of one is­lander.

Ten res­i­dents were ar­rested, the In­te­rior Min­istry added.

Video clips posted on so­cial me­dia net­works showed hun­dreds of an­gry is­lan­ders, mostly young men, at the man’s funeral, march­ing through farm fields while chant­ing, “We will sac­ri­fice the mar­tyr with our soul and blood.”

The vi­o­lence broke out when po­lice at­tempted to evict res­i­dents stay­ing or uti­liz­ing state land with­out per­mis­sion, part of an on­go­ing na­tion­wide cam­paign launched by President Ab­del-Fat­tah el-Sissi to re­take state prop­erty il­le­gally controlled or run for profit by in­di­vid­u­als or com­mer­cial en­ter­prises.

The lo­cal me­dia have for weeks been show­ing im­ages of po­lice and army troops de­mol­ish­ing build­ings or com­mer­cial fa­cil­i­ties il­le­gally built or op­er­at­ing with­out a li­cense.

In its state­ment, the In­te­rior Min­istry, which is in charge of the po­lice, said the res­i­dents at­tacked the po­lice force with firearms, bird­shot guns and rocks and that the of­fi­cers re­sponded with tear gas. It said up to 700 build­ing and land vi­o­la­tions were recorded on the is­land.

Il­le­gal use of state land is common in Egypt, as well as build­ing on agrar­ian land in vi­o­la­tion of the law.

In a sep­a­rate de­vel­op­ment, Egypt’s mil­i­tary said its jet fight­ers de­stroyed 15 all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles car­ry­ing weapons and ex­plo­sives along with “crim­i­nal el­e­ments” af­ter they were de­tected get­ting ready to cross the Libyan bor­der into Egypt.

A mil­i­tary state­ment Sunday said the war­planes had mon­i­tored and “dealt” with the ve­hi­cles over the pre­vi­ous 24 hours, but it did not say whether the airstrikes tar­geted them while on Egyp­tian soil. It also did not men­tion Libya by name, mak­ing only a veiled ref­er­ence to the North African na­tion.

Egypt’s por­ous desert bor­der with Libya has been the source of se­ri­ous con­cern to au­thor­i­ties, who con­tend that Is­lamic mil­i­tants and smug­glers use it as their route into Egypt. They main­tain that some of the mil­i­tants fight­ing se­cu­rity forces are trained and spon­sored by ex­trem­ist groups in Libya, where chaos has pre­vailed since a 2011 up­ris­ing.

In Si­nai, the scene of a long-run­ning in­sur­gency by Is­lamic mil­i­tants, the mil­i­tary said its jet fight­ers blasted a ve­hi­cle laden with a “large amount” of ex­plo­sives in the moun­tain­ous cen­ter of the mostly desert penin­sula, killing four mem­bers of an “ex­tremely dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ist cell” that was plan­ning an at­tack. It gave no fur­ther de­tails.

The mil­i­tants in Si­nai are led by an af­fil­i­ate of the Is­lamic State mil­i­tant group. Their at­tacks have grown more deadly and fre­quent in re­cent months. They have also ex­panded from north­ern Si­nai, the in­sur­gency’s epi­cen­ter, to the main­land, tar­get­ing mi­nor­ity Chris­tians in a se­ries of at­tacks since De­cem­ber that left more than 100 peo­ple dead.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.