Egyptian police raid town, arresting at least 70
KERDASA, Egypt — Egyptian security forces on Thursday stormed Kerdasa — a purported stronghold for ousted President Mohamed Morsy — and exchanged gunfire with residents in an hours-long street battle.
At least 70 suspected militants were arrested in the latest government crackdown on cities considered strong supporters of armed Islamists.
A police general, Nabil Farag, died in the violence. The incident was the first time that security forces returned to Kerdasa since Aug. 14, when 11 police officers died in clashes with Islamists protesting the clearing in Cairo of a pro-Morsy sit-in; Kerdasa is an industrial town south of Cairo.
The Cairo violence left as many as 1,100 pro-Morsy demonstrators dead in what became the initial step of a fierce crackdown.
There have been similar clashes in other Egyptian cities as communities become quasi-battlefields branded as either pro- or anti-government. The government has launched similar attacks in the Sinai. Earlier this week in the southern city of Delga, security forces arrested dozens on charges that they had torched churches or supported terrorists.
It wasn't always clear why some of those arrested on Thursday were targeted. McClatchy reporters watched security forces detain one man; members of the force couldn't agree on the man's alleged crime.
The man, who sported a beard often favored by Islamists, was arrested at a makeshift checkpoint. The two police officers and one soldier at the scene each offered a different reason.
“We found a machine gun with him,” said a police officer sitting next to the man in the police cruiser. A second officer farther away said the man was suspected of killing police officers last month. The soldier said the man is being held because “we found empty bullet shells in his pocket while inspecting him.”
“He was passing through the checkpoint trying to escape,” said the soldier, who like the two police officers refused to give his name.
In the vehicle, the police officer next to the arrested man poked him so that he would answer a reporter.
“I don't have any guns and this is my motorcycle,” he murmured, looking depressed.
Residents said they had expected security forces to raid the town since the Aug. 14 violence.
Streets were empty as residents huddled inside. Many said they were glad the police had returned.
“Let the police and military come back. That will bring tourism, as well,” said Saher Hamdy, 43, who owns a shop that sells embroidery, the town's claim to fame. His shop was closed, but he watched from the doorway.
A senior military official at the scene, Mohamed Elwan, said three of those arrested were accused of participating in the killing of police officers last month. He said more forces were expected to arrive Thursday night to arrest additional people.
A second general, Islam Ammar, said government forces had arrested 118 people and accused them of involvement in the burning of a police station in the town during the Aug. 14 upheaval.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- EU expects ‘immediate’ clampdown on migrants in $3.2B deal with Turkey
- In Paris, nations, investors to pledge billions for climate change research
- Senators call for 20,000 more troops in Syria and Iraq
- Climate summit spawns protest marches around world
- A third of world’s cacti threatened with extinction, report says
- Israel suspends contact with some EU groups over labels on exports
- Pope Francis appeals for peace amid tight security in Central African Republic
- Norway mulls using medical heroin to prevent deadly overdoses
- Iran gives investors glimpse of $30 billion in oil deals to come
- Bus carrying presidential guard targeted by bomber in Tunisia
- Philippines reappraises hoard of Marcos jewelry