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16 Egyptian soldiers killed at Israel border
Egypt President Mohamed Morsi says 'perpetrators will be punished'; Palestinian Hamas condemns blast while unconfirmed reports suggest 'Islamists' orchestrated the episode
Ahram Online, Sunday 5 Aug 2012
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Explosion
A photo of the fire resulted by the explosion (Photo: Ahram Online)

Attacks by unknown assailants on Egyptian border guard in the turmoil-hit Sinai left at least 16 dead and seven injured on Sunday, with Egyptian and Palestinian authorities responding fast to the incident.

According to media reports on Sunday evening, the attack involved a military vehicle, reportedly hijacked earlier, which exploded around 7pm. Others were injured after the attackers opened fire on them.

Investigations by authorities into the attack have been immediately opened as no group has claimed responsibility yet.

However, the Egyptian state TV claimed that elements of Islamic extremist groups situated in the Sinai peninsula had carried out the attack by iftar (the hour when people have their meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan), but provided no details.

An anonymous Egyptian security official was quoted by Egypt's state-run news agency, MENA, as saying that Islamist elements who infiltrated Egypt from the Gaza Strip through tunnels are behind the attacks, along with other Islamists situated in the areas of El-Halal Mountain and El-Mahdia in eastern Sinai.

For their side, however, Gaza strip rulers Hamas stressed it has not been involved in the attacks, saying it would never infiltrate Egypt’s borders nor use its weapons against its army in the wake of a deadly attack that left 15 Egyptian soldiers dead on Sunday.

"Hamas has nothing to do with the border tensions. On the contrary, it cares about the Egyptian national security and would never use weapons against the Egyptian army," the faction’s senior leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Ahram Online.

Infuriated at the incident, hundreds of Rafah residents (on the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Gaza border) gathered at the Sadat Square and blocked the road, preventing trucks heading to the port of Rafah and tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.

Some of the protesters told Al-Ahram's Arabic news portal that they refuse seeing the Egyptian army insulted, and that they would sacrifice their blood "to defend the Egyptian soldiers."

The site also reported that hundreds more headed to the Arish hospital, where the injured soldiers were admitted, to donate blood.

Back in Cairo, according to Egypt's health ministry, at least 15 Egyptian soldiers were killed and seven injured in the explosion that went off at a military zone on Sunday, near the city of Rafah, according to Al-Ahram Arabic-language news portal.

Later on, Egyptian state TV reported the death toll has risen to 16.

Ahmed El-Ansari, vice-president of the health ministry-affiliated Egyptian Ambulance Organisation, said that those injured in Sunday's attacks near Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip had been rushed to a hospital in the nearby city of Al-Arish.

According to state news agency MENA, El-Ansari also said that the injured had suffered bullets wounds to the head, chest and arms.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has held an emergency meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the chief of intelligence, and the interior minister to discuss the deadly attacks.

"The martyrs' blood will not be in vain… Orders were given to the armed forces to take strict measures to impose full control on Sinai," Morsi told Egyptian state TV after the meeting.

"Those who did this will be punished, everyone will see how the new procedures will be like," he added.

Egypt's presidential office echoed the same sentiments, stated that those responsible for the attacks on Egyptian border guard in Sinai will be punished for their actions as their crime will not be tolerated.

"The security apparatuses are working in full power to reveal the identities of the culprits of the attacks executed in Rafah soon," presidential office spokesman Yasser Ali told Egyptian state TV.

The Admin of the Official Page of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces published a more strong-worded statement, vowing that the death of Egyptian soldiers will be avenged.

"Those are religion-less and infidels; the days have proven that only force will stop them. Anyone who has harmed our armed forces will pay the price," read the post on the page, which was titled "We swear to God that we will avenge."

Since Egypt's 2011 uprising the country has witnessed what many describe as a security vaccum, with Sinai seen as particularly lawless. Observers point to a spate of kidnappings and the fact that a gas pipeline leading to Israel and Jordan has been blown up 15 times to show that the governorate is out of control. Meanwhile, dissenting voices suggest that it is not security measures that are required but policies that address the marginalisation of Sinai that long predates the January 25 Revolution. 



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23



jdinsb
07-08-2012 06:12am
7-
12+
New Egypt?
Welcome to the new Egypt. A new dawn, a new beginning...Oh, wait...same old conspiracies, same old dark plots. We will never see a better day, things can only get worse. Of course it must be the Israelis, or the Americans, or the Christians or possibly the Shia. Is it possible the we ourselves are to blame? Our leaders are corrupt, our culture is corrupt, and when I listen to the Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezbollah I can hear that segments of Islam have been corrupted. We will never see better days until we realize that we are our own worst enemies. To find the cause of our problems we only need look deep into the mirror.
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22



Khawaga
07-08-2012 01:54am
1-
6+
3 fire columns in the picture of Rafah
Can somebody explain why are there 3 columns of fire burning? The reports say 1 vehicle "exploded" and the other crossed into Israel and was shot by IAF (video from air released). So what caused the 3 different fires seen in the picture? Anybody? Also what/why did the 1st vehicle blow up? Would be nice to hear from MFO on what they "observed".
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21



Hector M.
06-08-2012 11:58pm
28-
33+
16 Egyptian soldiers killed at Israel border
This is Israeli game. This terrorist state is determined to keep Gaza border with Egypt closed. This evil BiBi is very much against all the Palestinians. Mossad obvious hand is evident. Egypt should put some army over there to check Israelin infiltration.
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20



expat
06-08-2012 09:01pm
35-
5+
mohameds rule
the first rule of the prophet was: you are never wrong,your do never wrong and if you yourself feel a little feeling,that something was wrong,what you did,it was the shaitan,who led you this way.... ou guys are the most boring scum on earth if you really like the mb,or the salafin,read their party programs,as it should be for any adult voter in a democracy but rule one comes in,the followers of mohamed cannot be wrong in anything,what an excuse expat
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19



Samantha Criscione
06-08-2012 08:42pm
38-
27+
Hamas admits its strategy is anti-Egyptian
"Hamas has nothing to do with the border tensions." With this statement, Hamas reveals its bankruptcy. Hamas's core strategy is precisely to get Egypt to fight Israel, in part by provoking border tensions, including by using terrorists seemingly independent of Hamas. But here Hamas admits that its strategy (tension with Israel) is against Egypt's national interest. And that is true, because Egypt's national interest is peace and the most productive relations with Israel, which would bend over backwards to have warm and mutually beneficial relations with Egypt if given the chance. -- Samantha Criscione
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18



James Molay
06-08-2012 07:24pm
28-
15+
They Care Nothing for People's Lives
This despicable attack by Islamist jihadists on fellow Muslims came at iftar as the Egyptians soldiers were relaxing after a long hot day of fasting. Egyptians need to realise that Islamists and jihadists have always been the gravest danger to their country, in the past and in the present. They care nothing about people's lives, nothing about Egypt, nothing about humanity. They are murderers who justify their criminal actions by wrapping themselves in the banner of a nonsensical medieval caliphate. Egyptians should denounce their acts, denounce any attempt to shift the blame on Israel, be honest with themselves and act firmly against this criminality in their midst.
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17



Ahmad Mitwali Higazi
06-08-2012 02:58pm
0-
11+
Excellent reporting
I think the reporting is excellent, find it unbiased with all sides of the story covered
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16



umish
06-08-2012 02:14pm
27-
13+
Look before you leap
When will all you nut cases on both sides of the border realize that war is more costly that peace, no matter how cold the peace is. You dont have to talk to each other, interact with each other but be civil and assure each other that you wont let idiots as militants drive you into war. Neither side can afford it , people or money. Egypt, wake up and come to terms that Israel is here to stay. Dont let Palestinians try to usurp your country by creating a war you dont want. Take control of the Sinai, and get rid of the terrorists to protect yourselves... Don't incite or inflame the situation with false accusations because they play well with the undereducated in your country... Look before you leap!.... Peace is cheaper
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Dalou
12-08-2012 03:22pm
0-
17+
Look before you leap umish
How dare you accuse Palestinians, you just reveal youself as fomenting what Zionists are experts in. What would "Palestinians gain from this? Be logical!!! You're giving a lesson on this blogg to Egypt for having relations with Hamas.
15



Free Lady
06-08-2012 09:47am
28-
20+
Self Destruction
Are we on path of self destruction? Islamist are killing us as we are infidels for them. Islamist are struggling to create an Islamic state in Sinai. I hope Islamist in Cairo can stop their brethren from further destruction. I don't want to see a day when Muslims will take arms to protect themselves from this NEW ISLAM.
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14



Israeli
06-08-2012 09:15am
22-
8+
Why not to mention...
That after killing 16 Egyptian soldiers, the terrorist hijacked an armored vehicle, crossed the Egyptian-Israeli border and started shooting to any direction till were eliminated by IDF?
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