Seeking to take advantage of the political insecurity in Egypt after Morsi's ouster, extremists killed two Egyptian soldiers and a policeman on Sunday in three separate attacks in the restive Sinai peninsula, which borders Israel.
The unidentified assailants in the town of El-Arish shot dead one soldier in front of the television and broadcasting building and another who was on guard duty, and killed the policeman in an attack on a police station, a security source told AFP. The attacks bring to 18 the number of security forces personnel killed, 14 policemen and four soldiers, since Morsi's ouster. Two Egyptian Christians were also killed in the region, one of them found decapitated five days after being kidnapped.
General Osama Askar, Commander of the Third Field Army based in Suez, 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 that killed one soldier, according to a previous report. The lawless North Sinai region is a base for Muslim extremists who in the last two years have stepped up their attacks on security forces, exploiting a vacuum following the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Yasmine Saleh wrote for Reuters.
While the first attack on Sinai was attributed to a revenge for the killings of pro-Morsi protesters demanding the release of the ousted president, this latest attack could have been aimed to prevent the Egyptian Panel from amending the constitution despite political divisions. The Egyptian Panel, according to NBC News, had started to work on the same Sunday. The original constitution was approved by a referendum last year, but critics said the text failed to protect human rights, minorities and social justice. Muslim Brotherhood, who had accused the army of orchestrating a military coup and denounced plans to revise the constitution, staged fresh rallies on that same Sunday too — maintaining its pressure on the new interim government.
So far the Muslim Brotherhood shows no sign it's ready to engage with the new administration or the army, sticking firmly to its demand for the full restoration of Morsi, who has been held in an undisclosed location since his downfall on July 3. Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in an interview with state television on Saturday, an address aimed at calming the political crisis that has gripped Egypt since president Mohamed Morsi was deposed more than two weeks ago. The Brotherhood, on the other hand, said it will not enter into any dialogue until he's restored to power.