Egypt’s Constitution, Al-Nour parties concerned over Sinai

MENA and Ahram Online, Saturday 10 Aug 2013

Friday's attack in Sinai militants raises concern among parties. Constitution Party asks army for more transparency, Al-Nour asks for non-violent response

Egypt’s liberal Constitution Party issued a statement on Saturday voicing its concern over the situation in Sinai following unconfirmed leaks of Israeli-Egyptian coordination during an attack against jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday.

In its statement, the party affirmed its full support for the armed forces “in their quest to impose Egyptian sovereignty on Sinai”.

The party, however, also called on the armed forces to explain the Sinai situation to the media and the Egyptian people with more “honesty and transparency” as long as it doesn’t put national security at stake.

On Friday, a loud explosion coming from the area of Ajraa in Egypt's North Sinai was heard at 4:15pm by residents of south Rafah, according to armed forces spokesman Ahmed Ali. Egypt's official MENA news agency reported that the explosion destroyed a rocket launcher set up near the border to launch attacks on Israel, and at least five Islamic militants were killed.

The attack was followed by conflicting media reports, some claiming the attack was launched by Israeli forces in coordination with Egyptian authorities. In response, Ali vehemently denied the claims, asking that media verify its information before publishing, especially on issues of national security.

For their part, the Salafist Al-Nour party stressed that “a security solution” to the situation in Sinai is not the answer.

“The security solution on its own will make matters more complicated,” said Galal Murra, the secretary general of Al-Nour party who warned of negative consequences if violent tactics were used against the people of Sinai.

Murra further called on the need for dialogue with the people of Sinai “in order to create a complete vision for a means of getting out of this crisis.”

Sinai has suffered a security vacuum since the January 2011 uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime. The situation escalated with the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. Militants have attacked police and security forces on a daily basis following Morsi's overthrow.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s army said that the army's crackdown on "terrorism and jihadists" in Sinai from 5 July to 4 August resulted in the capture or killing of 227 individuals — with 103 arrested and 124 either killed or injured.

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