Egypt holds popular funeral for slain police general

Ahram Online , Friday 20 Sep 2013

Public funeral held Friday for police chief killed in security operation in Kerdasa, as forces continue to hunt down Islamist militants in the town

Mourners carry the coffin of Police General Farag, who was killed during a security operation in Kerdasa, at Al-Rashdan Mosque in Nasr City (Photo: Reuters)

A public funeral was held on Friday in eastern Cairo for a senior police officer who was shot dead a day earlier when security forces stormed an Islamist stronghold on the outskirts of the capital.

Giza deputy security chief Nabil Farrag was killed and at least nine police officers injured when military and police forces stormed the town of Kerdasa on Thursday.

The funeral in the Nasr City district saw a military parade that was attended by top government and army figures, including army chief General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, as military helicopters hovered overhead.

The crowd shouted anti-terrorism and pro-government slogans as they marched in the funeral.

Kerdasa had seen almost no security presence since a bloody attack in August by Islamist militants on a police station there which left at least 11 policemen dead. The attack came in the immediate aftermath of a deadly police raid on two protest camps set up by loyalists of toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo.

Egypt's security forces on Friday pressed ahead with a clampdown operation to hunt down "terrorists" in Kerdasa as clashes abated after the police raid.

At least 81 wanted men were arrested and dozens of arms were seized during the operation on Thursday morning, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

Armoured vehicles and troops are still out in force around and within the town, state television reported, and police have been combing the area door-to-door in search of dozens of suspects associated with the attack on the police station.

Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood movement, have called for fresh nationwide demos on Friday against the "military coup" that toppled Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.

There was limited street action in the capital on Friday afternoon, but street violence was reported outside Cairo as clashes broke out between Brotherhood sympathisers and Morsi's opponents in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Police fired teargas to disperse crowds who threw stones, leaving several injured, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Islamists have held regular protests since Morsi's ouster on 3 July, but the numbers have sharply diminished in recent weeks amid a sustained clampdown by security forces targeting Islamists.

The raid on Kerdasa was the second such security operation in recent days. Security forces on Monday regained control of another Islamist bastion in Delga village in the southern governorate of Minya, which was held by Islamist hardliners who had torched churches and terrorised Christian residents there for almost a month.

The army has also been battling militant insurrection in the Sinai Peninsula which has seen an uptick following Morsi's exit.

A bomb targeting a bus carrying soldiers was detonated early Friday in northern Sinai. Periodic attacks in the lawless Sinai Peninsula have heightened fears of a spread of militant violence in the country. 

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