Tuesday papers: The Sinai file re-opened


Tuesday’s edition of the Independent newspaper Al-Shorouk leads with, “The presidency negotiates with jihadis and the military seeks revenge for the martyrs.” The newspaper reports that a source in the second army denied any negotiations with the jihadis, despite presidential sources who say otherwise. This comes against an attack in Rafah, where an exchange of fire occurred between a number of assailants and a central security camp. The military source adds that security operations continue in Sinai and that reinforcements have been sent to combat the extremists.

The source explains that the security forces completely refuse any form of negotiations with the jihadis and that security operations will not stop in Sinai under any circumstance. Presidential legal counsel Mohamed Fouad Gadallah had said earlier that the president is in negotiations with some segments in Sinai with jihadist ideas and another with an extreme enmity for the Ministry of Interior. The councilor added that a third column Sinai is extremely dangerous and aims at the dissolution of the country.

Al-Shorouk adds that five jihadis were arrested in Arish, two of who belong to the Nasr City terrorist cell. Salafi sources in the city say that the security measures are extremely strict against those who belong to religious groups, which may create chaos in the future and initiate a wave of vindictive operations against the security forces.

In “Al-Akhbar unveils the secrets of the arms market in Sinai,” the government mouthpiece states that Sudan, Libya and Jordan are the sources of arms in Sinai and that, according to sources, arms deals in Sinai started in 2000 from Upper Egypt. However, in 2002 dealers brought in M16 rifles from Jordan through Aqaba in the Red Sea. According to the state paper, the quality of the arms used in the last years has changed drastically; RPGs and anti-tank and aircraft missiles are widely used. Al-Akhbar cites sources saying that the arms smuggling route with Jordan was later discovered by Israel and stopped, which led to the creation of a new line between the years of 2002 and 2010, linking Yemen and Sudan to Sinai. After the toppling of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, the arms smuggling started with Libya. Prices vary, according to the source, but a normal rifle would cost between LE11,000 and LE12,000 and the bullet costs between LE1 and LE7. An RPG can cost as much as LE25,000 while a grenade costs LE100. In related news, political forces in Sinai are warning of the deteriorating security there, describing the situation as "dangerous." 

Covering an attack on the Central Security Forces camp in Rafah, Al-Akhbar reports that the attack was the second in 24 hours. It also reports that residents in Arish have objected to the way security forces searched homes looking for convicts, accusing them of disregarding the inviolability of women.

On a similar note, Al-Akhbar also reports that Doaa Rashad, the wife of kidnapped police officer Mohamed Mostafa al-Gohary, has stated in a TV show that Mohamed al-Zawahiri of the Salafi Jihad group in Egypt had offered to return her husband, along with a number of kidnapped officers. Zawahiri’s offer was reportedly authorized by the president’s office and intelligence. Gohary was kidnapped in February 2011.

The mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Newspaper, leads with “Qandil presents a statement of account to the president today.” The paper also reports that the prime minister has inaugurated four factories in Beni Suef Governorate, at a cost of LE262 million.   

Further down on the front page, Freedom and Justice runs another Sinai-related story, “The foreigners in Sinai … a precarious file.” According to the publication, most foreigners live legally in South Sinai and work in tourism, and some are even married to Egyptians. Former MP Abdallah Haggag stated that foreigners are comprised of several nationalities, mainly Americans, Russians and Israelis. The MP added that the foreign work force in Sinai exceeds the legal limit of 10 percent. Shura Assembly member Ahmed Youssef states that 1,400 Fatah members have been residing in Sinai since 2008 and asked why.

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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