Sinai Attack: Bedouins, 1,500 jihadists have trained in area

Thousands at funerals of border guards killed, Morsi not there

07 August, 20:16

Funeral of 16 Egyptians soldiers killed in sinai Funeral of 16 Egyptians soldiers killed in sinai

(ANSAMed) - GAZA/CAIRO - After Sunday's attack on a Sinai border barracks by a jihadist commando  which left 16 soldiers dead, Egypt is sending bulldozers and earth movers to Rafah to destroy the 600 tunnels being used for smuggling contraband to and from Gaza, local sources said on Tuesday. The previous regime had begun to destroy the tunnels and to build a wall between between Egypt and Gaza. Just 4 kilometers of the wall were built when the project was shut down, three months before the 2011 revolution that ousted Mubarak.

About 1,500 multinational jihadist militias received military training in the northern Sinai region in the months following the ousting of Egypt's former president, Bedouin Sheikh Khalaf al-Maniei told Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Tuesday. The training took place in Sheikh Zweid (north Sinai) and Wadi al-Amro (central Sinai) regions, according to the Sheikh, who leads the al-Sawarka tribe living in the northern Sinai.
The Bedouin community has been warning Egypt of the growing danger on its border, ''but no one listened to us,'' the Sheikh said in reference to Sunday's raid. The situation might drive Israel to occupy parts of northern Sinai, especially the el-Arish border access points, al-Maniei added.

An Israeli military spokesman yesterday called the Sinai ''a great hothouse for the flowering of international terrorism.'' Israel has returned to Egypt the bodies of six commando members it killed when they crossed over into Israel aboard an armored vehicle during the raid. Another three members of the 35-man commando were killed in Egyptian territory, Egyptian security sources said on Tuesday.

In Cairo thousands of people took part to the funerals of the 16 border guards killed in the attack, but Egyptian president  Morsi, who is losing popolarity for his policy about Gaza and Israel, chose not to be there.

And yesterday's attack on a Sinai border barracks will have ''a strong impact'' on the tourist sector, although no cancellations have yet been reported, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazoua told Mena news agency on Tuesday.
The minister has several meetings scheduled with President Mohamed Morsi to discuss tourism, which represents 27% of Egypt's revenue, and ways to bring it back up to pre-revolution levels.
The southern Sinai and the Red Sea areas bring in 70% of Egypt's tourism-related revenue, with the Sharm el-Sheikh resort area alone bringing in 40% of the overall figure.  (ANSAMed).

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