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» 08/06/2012
EGYPT - ISRAEL
Sinai, armed Egyptian group kills 16 police
The attack occurred last night near the Rafah crossing. The commandos stormed the checkpoint with armored vehicles, anti-tank rockets and grenades. There are still no claims of responsibility. This morning the Israeli army found the bodies of five assailants. The Egyptian president declares a state of emergency.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 16 Egyptian policemen were killed in an attack launched last night by a group of armed men - perhaps Palestinian Islamists - against a checkpoint in Rafah on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in North Sinai. This morning, IDF soldiers have recovered the bodies of five people belonging to the command. Rafah is the pass that connects the Palestinian population locked up in Gaza and under the rule of Hamas, to neighboring Egypt.

After a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, declared a state of emergency and promised that "the Egyptian army will take over control of Sinai". Morsi has called the attack "a cowardly act" and asked the security forces to defend the country's sovereignty and to protect Sinai from all armed groups. Currently, the Rafah crossing has been closed indefinitely.

The attack occurred at around 21.00 last night, while the Egyptian soldiers were preparing for iftar, the meal that marks the breaking of the fast of Ramadan. Two armed groups with their faces covered and in Bedouin clothes raided the checkpoint on board two armored jeeps, firing heavy machine guns, grenades and antitank rockets. One of the vehicles blew up against the barriers of the crossing, the other was destroyed by Israeli forces in the area.

To date no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but an official of the Egyptian army says the group belongs to the Islamist fringe active in the Sinai, responsible for several attacks against pipelines, Egyptian and Israeli security forces. A few hours before the assault, Israeli forces killed two armed terrorists, who were on board a motorcycle headed towards a roadblock.

About 1,000 soldiers belonging to the border police are stationed in the Sinai, with the task of guarding the strip of coast and the roads leading to the main city of northern Sinai, El Arish and Rafah. They do not belong to the elite units and are not trained to deal with any large-scale terrorist attacks, on the increase since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

 


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See also
08/08/2012 EGYPT - ISRAEL
Egyptian air strike on Sinai. At least 20 dead
01/26/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
Palestinians continue flooding into Egypt
by Joshua Lapide
01/24/2008 EGYPT – ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Egypt blocks Palestinian ‘exodus’ in Rafah
02/01/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
The Gaza border is under control, while Egypt is pushing Hamas and Abbas to dialogue
06/21/2007 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Fallout from Palestinian crisis to be discussed at four-party summit next Monday

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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