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Jihadists mock Egypt army claims of Sinai victories
by Staff Writers
Cairo, Qahirah (AFP) Sept 04, 2013

Egyptians protest as army demolishes Gaza border homes
Cairo, Qahirah (AFP) Sept 03, 2013 - Several hundred Egyptians protested Tuesday in the frontier town of Rafah against the military's demolition of homes across the border from the Palestinian Gaza Strip, witnesses and security officials said.

Troops have bulldozed at least 15 homes in the restive border town which security officials said housed entrances to tunnels used to smuggle goods into Islamist-ruled Gaza.

The military has intensified a campaign to shut down the tunnels since it ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3, unleashing daily militant attacks on police and troops in the Sinai Peninsula.

Residents fear the military is trying to create a buffer zone with the Hamas-ruled enclave.

Witnesses said about 350 protesters turned out on Tuesday in the run-down town, the entry point of contraband to Gaza which is under semi-blockade by both Egypt and Israel.

Dozens of policemen and soldiers have been killed since July 3 in shooting and rocket attacks in north Sinai, including 25 police conscripts executed by militants who ambushed their bus.

On Tuesday, military helicopters killed eight suspected militants and wounded 15 in air strikes on their suspected hiding places in a village near Rafah, the army said.

A jihadist group on Wednesday poured scorn on the Egyptian military's claims of victories in the restive Sinai peninsula where the army said it launched deadly air strikes on militants.

The fiercely anti-Israeli group Al-Salafi al-Jihadiya, in a statement posted on Islamist forums, condemned "the state media and the army as liars" who "celebrate ... fake victories in the Sinai".

On Tuesday, the military launched what security sources said was its "biggest" air assault on Sinai where the army has been battling a semi-insurgency since Islamist president Mohamed Morsi's ouster on July 3.

The strikes near the Rafah crossing into Gaza targeted militants using the area bordering the Palestinian territory as a hideout, the sources said.

They said eight militants were killed and 15 wounded in the bombing of several villages.

The jihadist group denied the claims.

"The operation has seen innocents being arrested and presented as fighters," the group said.

"They film the bombing of homes and present them as dens of fighters and openly lie about the deaths of large numbers of" militants, it added.

The security sources said the air assault also targeted weapons depots and explosives, apart from militants hiding in villages.

In the northern Sinai on Wednesday, a policeman was killed and eight others were wounded when armed men fired rockets at a police bus in El-Arish, near the Gaza border, a security source said.

Egypt has deployed additional forces to fight radical groups in the mainly desert region.

On August 19, militants killed 25 Egyptian police in an attack on two buses heading towards the town of Rafah.

Egyptian authorities regularly claim killing "terrorists" in the area and publish near daily pictures of men said to be militants.

Many radical groups have set up rear bases in northern Sinai, a region mostly populated by Bedouins who are themselves often in conflict with the central authorities in Cairo.


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Outside View: Egyptian and Arab democracy uber alles?
Washington (UPI) Aug 28, 2013
Insanity has been described as constantly repeating the same mistake and expecting a different outcome. That characterization sadly applies to U.S. attitudes and policies toward much of what is happening in Egypt and the Arab and Islamic worlds. The Americans have been there before, often supporting what is mistakenly regarded as the triumph of some sort of democratic movement over a fa ... read more

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