Egyptian Army Finds Missing Policeman’s Dead Body in Sinai

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Published Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Egyptian troops on Tuesday found the body of a police captain, who had been reported kidnapped in the Sinai Peninsula, the army said.

Police Captain Ayman al-Desouky, who had gone missing near the town of Rafah on the border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, was "killed by terrorist elements," it added.

His body was found with a bullet to the head after a joint search with police across the North Sinai towns of al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, during which the "10 terrorists" were killed in a shootout.

It was not immediately clear who had killed the officer, but militants based in the restive Sinai have claimed a string of killings of security force personnel.

Egypt's deadliest militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) is based in the peninsula and pledged allegiance in November to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Islamist group.

Egypt's military has been battling an insurgency in the region ever since it overthrew Islamist officially elected President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.

The government declared a state of emergency in parts of North Sinai after an October 24 suicide attack near al-Arish killed 30 soldiers in the deadliest assault on security forces since Mursi's ouster.

Militant groups claim their attacks are in retaliation for a government crackdown targeting Mursi's supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters are in jail as part of a security crackdown against the group on the Brotherhood since Mursi's ouster.

The Muslim Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement but authorities accuse its members of being involved with a Sinai Peninsula-based Islamist insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since Mursi's overthrow.

Sinai's Long Time Skirmish

However the Egyptian government claims to be “making progress in its daily war on terror,” local activists criticize security agencies for lacking a mechanism to mitigate the impact of security operations on innocent people in Sinai Peninsula.

In April, the Egyptian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms issued a report about the Egyptian army’s operations in North Sinai in which it talked about “systematic violations committed by the Egyptian armed forces.”

The report, titled “When crimes become mere numbers and statistics,” revealed that the field operations in North Sinai have resulted in the deaths of 200 people and detention of 1,500 more, as well as the demolition of more than 350 houses since 3 July 2013.

Early in July, writer and political activist Masaad Abu Fajr said the only solution for stability in the Sinai is “implementing the agenda of the revolution immediately in this area” by electing political leaders, local councils and tribal elders. He also called for restructuring the Ministry of Interior whereby the Security Directorate of North Sinai follows the governor, stressing that if this is not done, “we will witness further deterioration.”

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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