Sinai policemen protest lax security amid insurgency

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Oct 2013

Policemen demand modern weapons and tighter security as militants launch near daily attacks in lawless Sinai Peninsula

A file photo of a strike staged by police officers in South Sinai (Photo: Ahram Arabic News website)

Dozens of policemen have staged a protest in North Sinai calling for better protection against militant attacks in the region.

Security personnel blocked the gates of a police station in Al-Arish, state news agency MENA reported. 

They are demanding up-to-date weapons, increased security at their hostels, and new leadership at the provincial security directorate.

Egypt’s army has launched a weeks-long offensive to uproot Islamist insurgents, targetting hideouts and arms caches in the northern part of the region.

Militants have killed dozens of soldiers and policemen in near daily attacks since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

In May, dozens of police officers across the peninsula went on a days-long strike to demand better access to weapons.

Later in May, officers closed the border crossing with the Palestinian Gaza Strip in protest at the kidnapping of seven security personnel who were held for almost a week.

Sinai's Bedouin population has grown increasingly frustrated by government neglect and a lack of development.

On Monday, gunmen killed three policemen and a soldier in separate attacks in Al-Arish. A civilian was also killed in the nearby town of Sheikh Zuwayid

Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired militant group, has claimed responsibility for suicide bombing against the interior minister in Cairo in early September.

The military says it has killed dozens of Islamist militants, and captured hundreds of others during its ongoing air and ground campaign.

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