Egypt Arrests Al-Qa'ida Infiltrators Seeking To Revive Activities There

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The official said a military operation was imminent "to deter these armed groups."

"Units from the 2nd infantry division, with support from general security and the border guards," would take part in the operation, said the secretary general for North Sinai governorate, Gaber al-Araby.

"We plan to clean out those criminal pockets around the area of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid," al-Araby said.

A group claiming affiliation with al Qaeda has recently begun a propaganda campaign in the region, according to Egyptian officials.

The authority of the state has rarely carried much weight in the Sinai peninsula, where Bedouin tribes have great autonomy.

Gen. Abdel Wahab, the governor of North Sinai confirmed that a flier titled "Al Qaeda Sinai Branch" circulated outside a mosque in el-Arish on Wednesday. The document called for an Islamic state in Sinai and announced that the group was planning attacks on the police stations and security forces Friday.

"A security cordon has been placed around the entrances of el-Arish and reinforcements arrived outside the police stations and the el-Arish central prison in anticipation of an attack on Friday," said Hazem El Maadawi, an officer stationed outside the North Sinai police headquarters.

"Tomorrow is the big day," El Maadawi said, adding that he feared the worst.

At the end of last month, seven people were killed in clashes in el-Arish.

The clashes began after members of a militant Islamist group called Takfir wal-Hijra stormed a rally being held by another Salafist group outside a mosque.

Mohamed Mahmoud, who was among the protesters, told CNN; "The Takfiris stormed in by the hundreds mounted on pickup trucks and motorcycles waving black flags, a symbol of Jihad."

"The militants were heavily armed with machine guns, hand grenades and rocked-propelled grenades," he said. "They attacked two police stations and scared the residents under the name of Jihad. We only call for Jihad if someone attacks our Islamic country or people."

The head of security in North Sinai, Gen. Saleh al Masry, told CNN last week that Takfir-wal-Higra had become active during the revolution that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

"The terrorists were joined by members of Palestinian factions and they are currently being questioned by military intelligence. We arrested 12 assailants including three Palestinians," al Masry said.

What's not clear is whether the Takfiris are part of -- or aligned with -- the al Qaeda cells said to be training in Sinai.

The new leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is Egyptian and before leaving his homeland in the mid-1980s, had similar views to Takfir about overthrowing the Egyptian state and replacing it with Islamic rule.

More recently al-Zawahiri has recorded several messages exhorting Salafists in Egypt to take advantage of the ousting of Mubarak.

In an audio message that appeared on Jihadist forums earlier this month, al- Zawahiri said: "I commend the heroes who blew up the gas pipeline to Israel. I ask Allah to reward them for their heroic act, for they have expressed the anger of the Islamic Ummah against this continuing crime from the reign of Hosni Mubarak to the rule of the Military Council."

Egyptian army detains 6 in Sinai

Published yesterday (updated) 15/08/2011 17:35

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- The Egyptian army carried out a series of security raids in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish early Monday, detaining six men suspected of affiliation to an extremist group.

Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that the military has a list of 15 men wanted for membership of Al-Qaeda style-organization "Army of Islam" in El-Arish.

The six apprehended overnight are suspected of trying to establish an Islamic emirate in the Sinai peninsula, and were taken to the Security Directorate in northern Sinai for questioning.

The sources said the army also has a list of 17 people wanted in the border town of Rafah, abutting the border with the Gaza Strip.

That list includes seven Palestinians affiliated with the "Army of Islam" through a Gaza group Jaljalat [Thunder.]

NOW Lebanon: Armed men rampage through Sinai city

GMP20110729966129 Beirut NOW Lebanon in English 1840 GMT 29 Jul 11

["Armed Men Rampage Through Sinai City" -- NOW Lebanon Headline]

[ Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention ]

(NOW Lebanon) - Two people were wounded as dozens of armed men in cars waving flags with Islamic slogans rampaged through the North Sinai city of Al-Arish on Friday, Egypt's state news agency MENA and witnesses said.

Around 150 men in trucks and on motorbikes fired their assault rifles into the air, forcing terrified residents into their homes, witnesses told AFP.

Waving black flags which read "There is no God but God," the men stormed through the city and tried to force their way into a police station but were confronted by policemen and soldiers.

MENA said two people, including an 11-year-old child, were wounded by the gunfire of the armed men.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

[Description of Source: Beirut NOW Lebanon in English -- A privately-funded pro-14 March coalition, anti-Syria news website; URL:]

Xinhua 'Urgent': Three Dead, 12 Injured in Clashes in Northern Egypt

CPP20110729968242 Beijing Xinhua in English 1922 GMT 29 Jul 11

[Xinhua "Urgent": "Three Dead, 12 Injured in Clashes in Northern Egypt"]

[Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention]

CAIRO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Three people were killed and 12 others injured in Arish city in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula in clashes between masked men and police, a medical source told Xinhua on Friday.

[Description of Source: Beijing Xinhua in English -- China's official news service for English-language audiences (New China News Agency)]

Two Egyptians Killed As Gunmen Open Fire At Police Station

GMP20110729950036 Cairo MENA Online in English 1902 GMT 29 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, Egypt, 29 July: A group of masked gunmen opened fire at a police station in the North Sinai city of el-Arish, injuring several policemen.

The gunmen, riding four-wheel drives and motorcycles, showered al-Arish Thani police station with bullets, forcing the security forces to fire back.

A number of civilians were also wounded in the shooting, eyewitnesses said.

The injured were moved to hospital for treatment.

At least two civilians were killed and others injured in clashes between masked gunmen and security forces near el-Arish Thani police station in the North Sinai city of el-Arish.

Security sources said the two victims - one of them was 13-year-old child - were caught in the crossfire between the security forces and the militants, who attacked the police station.

Two police officers and three policemen were injured in the confrontation, the sources said.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL:]

Egyptian Army Arrests Suspects In Connection With Arish Incidents

GMP20110730950001 Cairo MENA Online in English 0539 GMT 30 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Cairo, 30 July: The Armed Forces have arrested four men suspected of being involved in the attack on the Arish police station in Sinai.

A military source said early Saturday that a fifth person was also arrested in an ambush as he was riding his car around the police station, adding that two machine guns were in his possession.

An army officer and three civilians were killed and 19 more were injured when masked gunmen opened fire at the Arish police station on Friday.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL:]

NOW Lebanon: Egyptian army detains five suspects in Sinai clashes

GMP20110730966038 Beirut NOW Lebanon in English 0810 GMT 30 Jul 11

["Egyptian Army Detains Five Suspects in Sinai Clashes" -- NOW Lebanon Headline]

[ Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention ]

(NOW Lebanon) - Egypt's military has arrested five people in connection with clashes in the north Sinai city of Al-Arish that left four people dead, the official MENA news agency said on Saturday.

Armed forces arrested four men suspected of involvement in an attack on an Al-Arish police station, while another man was arrested driving close to the police station with two machine guns in his possession, MENA said.

The arrests late on Friday came after gunmen tried to storm a police station, sparking a confrontation with security forces and the army.

Three civilians and an army officer were killed in the clashes, and 19 people were wounded.

On Friday night, around 150 men in trucks and on motorbikes rampaged through Al-Arish, firing assault rifles in the air, driving terrified residents into their homes.

They rode through the deserted streets of the north Sinai city waving black flags which read "There is no God but God," before attempting to storm the police station.

Earlier, the masked men used a bulldozer to damage a statue of the late president Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by Islamist militants in 1981.

The violence came after a peaceful demonstration at noon in one of the city's squares, part of countrywide protests by Islamists who want any future constitution to assert that Egypt is a Muslim state.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

Related Articles:

Two dead as armed men rampage through Sinai city

[Description of Source: Beirut NOW Lebanon in English -- A privately-funded pro-14 March coalition, anti-Syria news website; URL:]

Attempted Attack On Gas Export Station In Egypt's North Sinai

GMP20110730950008 Cairo MENA Online in English 1209 GMT 30 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, Egypt, 30 July: A group of masked men tried to attack a natural gas station in Shaykh Zwayid, the main liquefying station for gas exported by Egypt to Israel.

No losses were reported at the station except for a broken gas pipe.

The station was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades from a distance but only the gas pipe was hit, according to eyewitnesses. No explosions or blaze occurred as there was no gas in the station that has not been operating for sometime.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL:]

Twelve Palestinian, Egyptian Suspects Arrested In Al Arish Police Station Attack

GMP20110730950020 Cairo MENA Online in English 1428 GMT 30 Jul 11

Twelve Palestinian, Egyptian suspects arrested in A-Arish police station attack

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, 30 Jul: So far 12 people, Egyptians and Palestinians, have been arrested in the attempted attack on Al-Arish police station and are currently being interrogated, according to North Sinai Security chief Salih al-Misri on Saturday.

Three other Palestinians are being held in custody at Al-Arish General Hospital as they are under treatment from wounds they sustained during the shoot-out.

Al Arish police station came under an armed attack by masked gunmen carrying machineguns and riding Land Cruisers and bikes. Clashes between the gunmen and the security forces outside the station led to the killing of three civilians, an Armed Forces officer and a policeman and the injuring of 19 others.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL:]

Egypt: Conflicting Stories Narrated On Al-Arish Clashes On Friday, 29 July 2011

GMP20110731035002 Egyptwindow in Arabic 31 Jul 11

Cairo Egyptwindow in Arabic on 31 July 2011 carries four reports detailing the clashes in al-Arish city on Friday, 29 July 2011 and the speculation about those who were behind the clashes.

The first is a 500-word report by Adil Abu-Musallam and Umar al-Khatib entitled: "eyewitnesses narrate their story of the incidents in al-Arish on Friday, 29 July."

The report says that clashes broke out in the city of al-Arish between the Salafis and the armed forces after the Salafis "complained that an informer working for the state security service was watching their movements and attacked him," adding: "the Salafis were encircled by an army force, which said that the informer was an officer working for the intelligence service."

A different story said that three Land Cruisers carrying 10 masked armed men each started to open fire on Sadat's statue in the city of al-Arish.

Other eyewitness said that four land Cruisers carrying 20 masked young men started to open fire on the statue and then attacked the police station of al-Arish city.

All the eyewitnesses were in agreement that the first car raised a black banner, which meant to the al-Arish residents that the attackers "belonged to the Al-Qa'idah Organization or Takfiri groups." Some of them were clad in a Jihadist military uniform and Some were Bedouins while others were non-Bedouins.

The report points out that the attackers assaulted the police station with missiles.

The second is an unattributed 300-word report entitled: "the military governor of al-Arish says that Muhammad Dahlan was behind the clashes in al-Arish city."

The report says that the military governor of al-Arish told the Egyptian Television on 30 July 2011 that masked men of the Fatah Movement of the Muhammad Dahlan faction "were behind the clashes in al-Arish on Friday 29 July 2011."

The report adds that the masked men clashed with the security forces in front of the al-Arish police station.

The third is an unattributed 250-word report entitled: "four people killed and 19 wounded while five suspects were arrested in connection with the al-Arish clashes."

The report says that the armed forces "arrested four suspects accused of involvement in the attack on al-Arish police station in Sinai," adding: "the Assistant Health Minister for Technical and Political Affairs, Dr Abd-al-Hamid Abazah, said that four people were killed and 19 others were wounded in the al-Arish clashes."

The report notes that the armed men used machineguns and automatic weapons in their attack on the police station.

The report points out that a fifth person was arrested after attacking an armed forces' post in al-Hadath area of al-Arish city and that the five persons were referred to the competent authorities for investigation.

The fourth is a 200-word report by Adil Abu-Musallam entitled: "detonation of the natural gas line in al-Shaykh Zuwayyid city, and Takfiris and men of the criminal Muhammad Dahalan group are accused of carrying out the explosion."

The report says that an "unknown group detonated the natural gas station in Abu-Tawilah in Shaykh Zuwayyid city, 15 kilometers from the borders with the Gaza Strip."

Electronic websites have reported that Takfiris were behind the explosion and the clashes that broke out in the city of al-Arish on 29 July 2011.

However, sources in Sinai said that men loyal to Muhammad Dahalan were behind the explosion and the clashes in order to "enhance the pressure to keep the Rafah crossing closed and to spread alarm of the Islamic groups."

The Sinai sources explained that these elements were trained by the security services in Alexandria for the purpose of "storming the Gaza Strip during the destructive war launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip late in 2008."

The report points out that the masked men who were involved in the al-Arish clashes were clad in clothes resembling the Al-Qa'idah military uniform and hoisted black banners on their cars to suggest that they belonged to Al-Qa'idah.

[Description of Source: Cairo Egyptwindow in Arabic-- One of the oldest Muslim Brotherhood (MB) sites, it provides information on the latest MB-related developments in Egypt and the biographies of MB leaders; covers Islamic international affairs and other religious topics; publishes some original material, including news reports, analytical pieces, and religious articles by prominent MB members; also carries news items from various mainstream sources like Al-Jazirah, Al-Arabiyah, Al-Misriyun, Masrawy, Al-Wafd, IslamOnline, and Agence France Press; URL:]

Israeli Company's Private Security Staff Fights Off Attack on Sinai Gas Facility

GMP20110731739006 Rishon Leziyyon Globes Online in English 0759 GMT 31 Jul 11

[Report by Amiram Barqat: "EMG Security Staff Defend Egyptian Pipeline"]

On Friday night, security staff of East Mediterranean Gas Company Ltd. (EMG) fought off an attack against a company-owned gas facility in El Arish in Sinai. EMG buys natural gas from the Egyptian National Gas Company (Gasco) for export to Israel via a pipeline from El Arish to Ashkelon, which EMG built at a cost of $500 million.

In a statement yesterday, EMG shareholder Ampal American-Israel Corporation (Nasdaq: AMPL; TASE:AMPL) said, "In the wake of violent incidents in El-Arish, Egypt on July 29th, in the early morning of July 30th there was an attempt to cause damage to the EMG site near El-Arish. The security forces on site returned fire, prevented any penetration of the EMG site and repelled the attack. No casualties were reported. EMG reports that the incident will not affect its operations once Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) resumes supply after it was interrupted due to an explosion at a Gasco terminal on July 12, 2011."

An Israeli source told Globes that Egypt's government should heed the lesson of EMG's success in defending its facility. He said, "If a private company can defend its facilities, the Egyptian government can, too."

On Saturday, terrorists blew up a gas terminal serving the gas pipeline to Israel, the fifth attack so far this year. In a statement, Ampal said that Egyptian security forces prevented an attack at a gas terminal in al-Shulaq in Sinai.

Ampal, controlled by chairman Yosef Maiman owns 12.5% of EMG.

[Description of Source: Rishon Leziyyon Globes Online in English -- Website of independent daily focusing on business and financial news; URL:]

Egypt: Al-Arish Attackers came from Salafi-Jihadist Stronghold in North Sinai

GMP20110801013002 Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic 01 Aug 11 pp 1, 4

[Report by Hanan Hajjaj: "The Secrets of Al-Arish Conquest: The Holders of the Black Flgas Belong to the Salafi-Jihadists"]

Political activists and tribal sources in northern Sinai disclosed to Al-Ahram that the armed groups that attacked the city of Al-Arish last Friday came from the village of Al-Quray'a, near the City of Shaykh Zuwayd, considered the principal stronghold of Salafi-jihadist groups in northern Sinai. The sources said this group is fortified in the mountains and raise the black colored flags of Al-Qa'ida organization. They said that what it did last Friday was a prelude to proclamation of an Islamic emirate in Northern Sinai.

Activists Ayub and Husayn al-Qayyim and Shadi Ashraf as well as prominent tribal sources said this group boasts publicly that it carried out the bombing of the natural gas export pipeline to Israel, Jordan, and northern Sinai. They conducted a number of drills for their attack on Al-Arish in the City of Shaykh Zuwayd, near the village of Al-Quray'a, the hometown of the elements of the group.

What happened last Friday evening in Al-Arish and appeared as a surprise to all was not actually a surprise for the inhabitants of northern Sinai. Those who carry black flags, weapons, and copies of the Koran that were raised in Al Hurriya Square in Al-Arish were presenting their first show of strength following several rehearsals to which no one paid attention. The silence on these rehearsals appeared as if it were an encouragement to further escalation.

Al-Ahram investigated the group whose members carry black flags and wear black trousers. It monitored the map of their presence geographically and politically. That map starts from a small hamlet that carries the name of Al-Quray'a and ends on the Egyptian-Israeli borders and at the gates of the secret tunnels. This map announced the birth of a new current of Salafis who raise the black flag of jihad and the Kalashnikov rather than the microphones. Last Friday the hordes of the Salafi-jihadist--as they call themselves--moved toward the city of Al-Arish mobilizing the largest number of their members in a demonstration that included more than 50 vehicles, from four-wheels to light trucks and motor-cycles packed with weapons, according to eyewitnesses and two recorded films. Four days prior to that development, the City of Shaykh Zuwayd which lies between Al-Arish and Rafah witnessed a final rehearsal that almost turned into a live show were it not for the intervention of some of the shaykhs of the city. According to the account of Husayn al-Qayyim, one of the inhabitants of Shaykh Zuwayd, no less than 1,000 of them fully armed and in four-wheel cars entered the city to show their support for one of their men who had been involved in an ordinary quarrel with one of the inhabitants of the city over the placement of an artificial bump on the road despite the objections of a Salafi shop owner. This was the ostensible reason, as al-Qayyim says, but the real reason for the massive show was to send a message. The intruders brandished the Korans and weapons, repeating chants that the announcement of their Islamic emirate was near and that the city would be ruled by Allah's Shari'a. Even though they withdrew from the city after intervention by some tribal men, the message reached everybody. This tactical withdrawal left behind many fears among the inhabitants of Shaykh Zuwayd. These fears were worsened by fresh affirmations from those who launched the attack that they had carried out the bombing of the gas pipeline to Israel, a claim that was repeated more than once before even though there has been reaction from officials for reasons that remain mysterious. That bombing was praised by the popular base in Sinai and the Egyptians in general, in contrast with another bombing targeting the shrine of Shaykh Zuwayd [local saint] that was carried out by the same group but met with popular condemnation and again with official silence without explanation.

Al-Quray'a: Security and Weapons

Where did these groups come from? Where did they go? As Al-Ahram learnt, the expedition withdrew, raising high its black flags, to an area not far off. The majority returned to their first and basic base, the hamlet of Al-Quray'a which is just 20 kilometers from Shaykh Zuwayd in the direction of the city of Al-Arish. The story of that city, according to what one of the elders of Shaykh Zuwayd told us, began four years ago. Al-Quray'a is just a small desert village on the road between Shaykh Zuwayd and Al-Arish city. Because of the security raids undertaken since the incidents of Taba in 2004, the village turned into a primary stronghold and haven for the followers of the current because it lies geographically in a region very distant from any security presence and has no police station. At the same time it enjoys protection provided by a neighboring area called Jebel al-Halal, which is the most notable stronghold for arms merchants in Sinai. This neighboring location offered the necessary security and weapons for the members of the group. The tribal elder went on to say that the relative security that the region around it enjoys turned the village in less than four years from a small village with a small population into what resembles a city, with multi-storey buildings going up and with all services and utilities available for at least 4,000 of the new inhabitants, allowing them to live and organize themselves and even to train regularly on the use of weapons. He affirmed that more than 95% of the inhabitants of the village, according to estimates of some inhabitants of Sinai, are from the Sinai tribes. As for the remaining percentage, it hails from the Valley. Some affirm that the return of some of the mujahidin leaders from Afghanistan is what led to the inclination of those to the jihadist ways, in contrast with the calm Salafism that exists in the Valley.

Taba: Punishment and Violence

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