» 08/06/2012 09:57 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.
morning, IDF soldiers have recovered the bodies of five people belonging to the
is the pass that connects the Palestinian population locked up in Gaza and under
the rule of Hamas, to neighboring Egypt.
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.
the Rafah crossing has been closed indefinitely.
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
of the vehicles blew up against the barriers of the crossing, the other was
destroyed by Israeli forces in the area.
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.
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.