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Sunday, November 4, 2012
[Tribal leaders call for Morsi to close Gaza smuggling tunnels] Appointment of new security director in Sinai curbs protests

North Sinai's tribal leaders agreed, saying President Mohamed Morsy must
issue a decree to shut down the smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border
between Egypt and Gaza, increase security forces in North Sinai and give
them the jurisdiction to stand up against crime and militancy.

Appointment of new security director in Sinai curbs protests
Heba Fahmy Egypt Independent Sun, 04/11/2012 - 19:55
http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/appointment-new-security-director-sinai-curbs-protests

Policemen in Sinai ended their protests around the Arish Security
Directorate on Sunday, after Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin sacked
North Sinai Security Director General Ahmed Bakr, and appointed his deputy,
General Samih Ahmed Bashady, in his place.

“Bashady is a good guy, we've known him ever since the 25 January
revolution, and he always stood by us,” a low-ranking policeman and
protester in North Sinai who preferred to remain anonymous told Egypt
Independent.

The move came following the killing of three policemen and the injury of a
fourth in an attack by gunmen on a police patrol in North Sinai’s capital of
Arish on Saturday.

The policemen had been protesting since Saturday, saying that they have been
left without protection to face militants' attacks.

The protesting low-ranking policeman complained that policemen in North
Sinai weren't involved in security plans to confront militants and protect
the governorate.

“We find ourselves paralyzed in front of crimes and terrorist attacks
because we don't get orders from our superiors to get involved and we are
not equipped,” he said.

North Sinai's tribal leaders agreed, saying President Mohamed Morsy must
issue a decree to shut down the smuggling tunnels on the Rafah border
between Egypt and Gaza, increase security forces in North Sinai and give
them the jurisdiction to stand up against crime and militancy.

The tribal leaders expected to meet the defense and interior ministers,
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ahmed Gamal Eddin, when the two visited North Sinai
on Sunday to inspect its security situation. However, they were outraged to
find out that the two ministers abruptly left the governorate before meeting
them.

“We were invited to the headquarters of North Sinai Governorate to sit down
with the interior and defense ministers, but we were surprised that they
didn't come,” said Aaref Abu Ekr, head of the Kour tribe in North Sinai.

They ended up meeting with Abdel Fattah Harhour, a former general who was
recently appointed governor by President Morsy, and an official from the
Defense Ministry.

Abu Ekr said they were told that the ministers were summoned by Morsy, but
that didn't ease their anger.

Tribal leaders, however, weren't impressed with the appointment of Bashady.

“It doesn't matter who the security director is, what matters is his
jurisdiction and increasing security in North Sinai,” he said, adding that
this could only be done through a presidential decree.

The security situation has deteriorated in North Sinai ever since the 25
January revolt that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

There have been several militant attacks in the governorate. The most deadly
took place in August, when 16 policemen were shot dead by armed assailants
at a checkpoint near Rafah.

Many political powers have blamed the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and
Israel for the lack of security in North Sinai. The treaty restricts the
Egyptian military presence in the governorate.

When the military launched an operation in August to purge criminal and
militant strongholds, it insisted that it wasn’t in violation of the Camp
David Accords. Armed Forces media spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali
said in September that the operation was a success. He claimed that it
discovered and destroyed 31 tunnels, killed 32 “criminal elements” and
wounded one, and confiscated a large number of weapons.

He added that the government has allocated LE1.65 billion for development in
Sinai.

Abu Ekr, however, said that the operation went well for around a month but
after that security deteriorated once again.

Meanwhile, a group of revolutionary youths ended a sit-in Sunday near the
North Sinai governorate building after Bashady’s appointment.

“We have a meeting with the governor and the new North Sinai director to
talk about the security situation in Sinai,” North Sinai activist Khaled
Saad said.

“Our main demand is achieving strong security in Sinai,” he added.

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