The Associated Press reports: Egyptian security forces backed by armored fighting vehicles and helicopters stormed a tourist town near the Great Pyramids that became an Islamist stronghold on Thursday, the latest in a stepped up campaign by the military-backed government to put down armed supporters of the ousted president.
As they moved into Kerdasa at around 6 a.m., the troops and policemen came under barrages of fire from gunmen on rooftops. Militants took control of the town just outside Cairo more than a month ago amid a nationwide backlash of violence by Islamists enraged by the military coup that removed President Mohammed Morsi and by a crackdown against his supporters that followed.
A police general fell in the first moments of the battle. Gen. Nabil Farrag had just given a pep talk to his men on the street, preparing them to roll into the town, when they came under a hail of gunfire, according to an Associated Press video journalist and a photographer working with AP. [Continue reading…]
AFP reports: Gaza rulers Hamas and residents of the Palestinian territory fear Egypt’s destruction of tunnels used to smuggle goods across the border is part of a plan to tighten a blockade of the Strip.
“The Egyptian army has destroyed 95 percent of the tunnels with the aim of setting up a security buffer zone,” Sobhi Ridwan, head of the Palestinian municipality in the border town of Rafah, told AFP.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum echoed the concern.
“We have big fears of a buffer zone being set up and the tunnels all being shut down,” Barhum said.
Egypt’s army has destroyed many of the tunnels on the Egyptian side of Rafah which are used to smuggle goods, including building material and fuel, into the blockaded Palestinian territory. [Continue reading…]
The New York Times reports: Security forces on Tuesday arrested Gehad el-Haddad, a senior official of the Muslim Brotherhood who handled the group’s communication with the foreign news media, security officials said. His arrest was part of a continuing roundup of thousands of Brotherhood members in the two months since the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, an ally of the group.
Mr. Haddad is an aide to Khairat el-Shater, a Brotherhood leader who was arrested last month, and the son of Mr. Morsi’s top foreign policy adviser, Essam el-Haddad, who was detained with Mr. Morsi at the time of the takeover. The arrests have already swept up much of the group’s leadership, effectively crippling its organizational ability.