Violence Continues To Hit Egypt
Some three months after the coup that deposed Mohammed Morsi and imposed military rule, violence in Egypt seems to have increased, and this weekend we saw yet another indication of that fact:
CAIRO — Deadly violence against the government broke out around Egypt on Monday as health officials raised to 53 the number said to have been killed the day before in clashes between supporters and opponents of the military takeover that ousted President Mohamed Morsi three months ago.
Unidentified gunmen in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia killed six soldiers, including a lieutenant, in a drive-by shooting, while a car bomb at the security headquarters in the southern Sinai town of El-Tor killed two police officers and injured nearly 50 other people, state media reported. In Cairo, assailants fired at least one rocket-propelled grenade through a satellite dish used to transmit Egyptian state television.
The grenade attack was reported to have caused only minor damage, but it was the first time since the before the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak nearly three years ago that anyone had used such a heavy weapon in the vicinity of the capital.
It took place in Maadi, an affluent enclave up the Nile from downtown that is the home to many embassies and diplomats and is considered among the most secure precincts of the city.
Coming in the aftermath of the previous day’s clashes, the attacks were among the strongest indications yet that the new government appointed on July 3 by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi had not yet secured full control of the streets.
The new government has sought to crush the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist supporters Mr. Morsi with a level of violence without precedent in modern Egyptian history. It has killed more than 1,000 protesters in mass shootings in the streets, imprisoned almost all of the Brotherhood’s leaders and silenced much of allied news media.
The Sunday protests against the military takeover took place on a national holiday celebrating the military, when the new government called its civilian supporters into the streets to push back the Islamists and threatened them with heavy retribution from security forces as well.
But the heavy turnout of pro-Morsi demonstrators, even at a time when the Muslim Brotherhood has been effectively decapitated, demonstrated the organization’s resilience in the face of the crackdown.
The attacks on Monday morning were the latest indication that some opponents of the government are also resorting to random or isolated acts of violence, suggesting that Egypt could face a prolonged period of turmoil.
With the Egyptian military having ended the first elected government in the nation’s history and, more recently, declaring the Muslim Brotherhood to be an illegal organization, it really isn’t surprising to see people resorting to underground methods to pursue their political goals. If this truly is the beginning of a prolonged period of guerrilla violence in the world’s biggest Arab nation, though, the implications for the rest of the region are not good at all.