Gunmen attack 3 security checkpoints in turmoil-hit North Sinai
Masked gunmen have attacked three joint military-police checkpoints in Egypt’s North Sinai in the late hours of Tuesday, two days after 16 border guards were killed by unidentified assailants in an incident that has left the Sinai Peninsula in a state of serious disarray.
A resident in Al-Arish City was accidently injured after being caught out in the fight as the gunmen attacked Al-Risa checkpoint and two others on the main road between Al-Arish and Rafah, the city that was at the center of Sunday’s deadly attacks on Egyptian border guards. No deaths were reported.
The fire exchange lasted until the early hours of Wednesday, before military and police armoured vehicles combed the area to contain the situation, eyewitnesses told Al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news portal.
It is the 29th attack on Al-Risa checkpoint since the 2011 uprising.
Sinai has sunk into a state of lawlessness since last year's 18-day uprising that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak.
The situation has taken a severe turn for the worse since Sunday, when a vicious attack by unknown assailants at the Egypt-Gaza border left 16 guards dead and seven injured.
Many parties have traded accusations over the deadly attack that took place near the Gaza strip, which is governed by Islamist faction Hamas. No one has claimed responsibility yet for the terrorist operation.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Egypt President Mohamed Morsi hails, has accused Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad of carrying out the attack to “hinder Egypt’s progress.”
Hamas and Israel have both distanced themselves from the attack, with the latter’s defence minister Ehud Barak saying he hoped it would serve as a “wake-up call” to Egypt, which has been struggling to assert control over Sinai.
Morsi has declared three days of mourning for the slain soldiers. A military funeral service was held for them on Tuesday.
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Osama El-Baz (1931 – September 14, 2013) was a prominent Egyptian politician and a Senior Advisor to former President Hosni Mubarak since 1981. A graduate from Cairo University, he studied for six years in the United States, where he obtained his master's degree as well as a PhD from Harvard Law School. El-Baz later joigned the Egyptian foreign service, and was made chef de cabinet