Sinai not military zone, no curfew imposed: Military spokesman
Egypt's Armed Forces deny closure of Sinai following deaths of three
policemen Saturday; joint US-Egyptian military delegation to peninsula
monitor security situation
Ahram Online , Monday 5 Nov 2012
Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman, Ahmed Mohamed Ali, denied media rumours
that the Sinai Peninsula has become a closed military zone and that a curfew
was imposed in North Sinai, Egypt's official news agency MENA reported
Ali told MENA that the false reports came after an increase in security
following the deaths of three policemen by unknown assailants in the border
city of Al-Arish on Saturday.
He further added that the current situation in Sinai is under control and
that the military are working closely with the police authorities to ensure
the "security and sovereignty of such a strategic spot in Egypt."
Following the incident, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Interior
Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin both visited Al-Arish Sunday afternoon.
Ali said that the visit by top officials to the Sinai region is proof of the
return to relative normalcy.
In a related move, a joint American-Egyptian military delegation travelled
to the Sinai resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Monday, to inspect the security
situation, German news agency DPA reported.
Seven officials were part of the assembly, including the director of the US
Office of Military Cooperation-Egypt and Egyptian Armed Forces liaison
officer Osama Abdel-Aziz.
On Saturday and Sunday police officers staged a strike outside the North
Sinai Governorate headquarters and blocked the main Al-Arish-Rafah highway
in protest of the deaths of their colleagues.
They demanded that the head of the North Sinai Security Directorate be
removed and the application of emergency laws to return security to the
Consequently, the interior minister dismissed security chief General Ahmed
Baker, Sunday, and appointed his deputy, Sameh Bashadi, in his place.
The restive border region has witnessed an increase in violence over the
course of the past few months with recurring clashes between security forces
and militants taking place.
Saturday's bloody ambush on the police officers was believed to be a
counter-attack following the killing of three men by security officers the