Yesterday’s tragic events and the deaths of 16 Egyptian security officers in Sinai occupy the headlines this morning. The independent paper Al-Shorouk leads with, “Jihadi leaders and Jama’a al-Islamiya say Sinai operation is infiltrated by Mossad to embarrass Morsy.”
The newspaper goes on to say that yesterday around iftar time, a group of armed men attacked an army checkpoint on the border, killing 16 and injuring seven, two of whom are in critical condition.
State news agency MENA quoted a security source saying the armed men were probably jihadists who entered the country through the Gaza tunnels, as well as other jihadists from the Mahdeya area and Jabbal al-Halal. Ahmed Ansary, deputy director of ambulance services, said three injured victims were taken to Cairo and added that those who died were taken to Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah Central hospitals.
Witnesses said the armed men seized two Egyptian tanks and headed toward the Karm Abu Salem crossing and shot at an Israeli checkpoint. Security sources said the Rafah crossing has been closed until further notice.
Meanwhile, witnesses from the city of Rafah reported seeing a 4×4 vehicle with no license plates with four masked men wearing black army uniforms inside it. When people tried to stop the car, the armed men pointed their guns at them and escaped.
President Mohamed Morsy commented on the incident yesterday, saying action would be taken and the attackers would pay the price of their crime. The president offered his condolences to the families of the deceased and wished the injured a quick recovery.
Al-Ahram leads with a different number of casualties, “15 killed and seven injured in a terrorist attack in Rafah.” The state-run paper says the attackers tried to escape the crime scene in two cars headed to Gaza, but armed forces personnel ambushed them. Al-Ahram sources said the armed men attacked the soldiers while they were eating and showered them with bullets, then seized a tank and headed to Checkpoint 16 on the border.
The area has been completely closed off and security forces are looking for more of the gunmen, who are allegedly jihadists and convicts who escaped from prisons during the 25 January revolution and went into hiding in Sinai. Morsy called for an emergency meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to discuss the ramifications of the incident.
The government mouthpiece also writes, “11 arrested in the recent Dahshur incident,” referring to sectarian fighting that broke out in an area outside Cairo. According to the paper, the perpetrators of the incident were hiding in Badrashein, a neighboring town. Giza Governor Ali Abdel Rahman formed a committee to determine the damages of the events and to estimate the amount of compensation needed.
“Terrorist hands burn down Sinai,” Al-Gomhurriya writes. On page five, the state-run newspaper reports that 15 officers were killed and seven injured in the attack. The assailants reportedly cut electricity in the village of Masoura and then ambushed the officers during iftar time. Israeli media said last night that three of the assailants were killed as they tried to cross the Karm Abu Salem corssing. Meanwhile, a high-level security source said additional army forces have been deployed in the area.
Unlike most newspapers this morning, Freedom and Justice — the mouthpiece newspaper of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party — mentions nothing about yesterday’s attack and leads with, “Qandil’s government works hard to finish the 100-day program.” The program’s main priority is to solve the bread, traffic and security problems, in addition to continuing the “Clean Country” campaign.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party