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article imageEgyptian army declared an emergency state in Suez Canal and Sinai

By Eko Armunanto     Jul 5, 2013 in World
State-owned Ahram Online launched a breaking news Friday saying General Osama Askar has declared a state of 'high alert' in Suez and south Sinai after Islamic militants attacked army checkpoints and a police base in North Sinai, killed one soldier.
Referring to the Arabic version of the news, Ahram says General Osama Askar, Commander of the Third Field Army based in Suez, has deployed forces which will be in coordination with navy and air forces to secure the entrances and exits of the city, in addition to deploying security check points at axles of local and international borders. The security measurements will include the five gates of ports in Suez, in addition to four ports in South Sinai. Citing a state television’s report, Ahram says Islamist gunmen open fire on El Arish airport in Egypt's troubled Sinai Peninsula and at three military checkpoints early on Friday. It was not clear, Ahram says, whether the coordinated attack on several army positions was in response to the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo Wednesday.
The country's border crossing with Gaza Strip in northern Sinai has also been closed indefinitely following the attack that killed one Egyptian soldier and wounded three. General Sami el-Metwali confirmed that Rafah passage was shut down Friday without saying when it would be reopened. Some 200 Palestinians were turned back to the Gaza Strip after the order.
Sinai has in recent months become an increasingly important theatre for jihadist groups, says The Guardian concerning the same Ahram report while mentioning that the high-alert state declared by the army is in fact a state of emergency. The few Muslim Brotherhood's leaders who remain at liberty have vowed that their rallies will remain non-violent. However, with up to 300 Muslim Brotherhood's decision-makers now in detention, it remains unclear how much control the leadership could have in towns and provinces, where anger at the military and other institutions that supported Morsi's toppling continues to simmer.
Some speculations say the attack by unknown Islamist militants could be a revenge responding to the death of Morsi supporters shot by the army in front of the Republican Guard headquarters where the ousted president was reported to be detained. USA Today says the first major attack by militants in Sinai raised fears that the Islamists' extreme fringe will turn to violent retaliation for the toppling of Mohamed Morsi.
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