In Pictures: Sinai hostage situation enters fourth day
Kidnappers demand release of Sinai political prisoners, President Mohamed Morsi calls for national dialogue and NSF boycotts
Unidentified gunmen kidnapped seven off-duty security personnel on Thursday; six of them belong to different sections of the Ministry of Interior and one of the detainees, Ibrahim, is a military volunteer non-commissioned officer with the Border Guards.
Meanwhile, President Morsi called for a national dialogue with political parties and leaders which took place at the Presidential Palace on Sunday evening, the presidency announced.
Opposition coalition the National Salvation Front, as well as several of its component parties, announced their boycott of the meeting and called on the president to take more serious action.
North Sinai Governor Sayed Abdel Fatah Harhour held a press conference on Sunday morning and denied that security apparatuses held any kind of negotiations with the kidnappers.
Harhour said they were trying to narrow down the list of places where the soldiers are being held but were having trouble doing so since no group announced responsibility for the kidnapping. He added that the presidency also denied all rumours of negotiations.
“The kidnappers could be the families of those arrested in the aftermath of the 2005 Taba bombing or the 2011 Al-Arish Police Station attacks. It could also be an entity that does not want stability in Sinai and hopes to get the international community involved,” Harhour said.
The governor, a former military major general, said that all options were possible, be it negotiations or a military operation.
“It is better for my son to return a martyr than for the government to negotiate with terrorists,” Mohamed Abdel Hamid Mohamed, the father of conscript Ahmed Abdel Hamid Mohamed, said.
In response to the kidnapping security forces stationed at the Rafah Border Crossing have entered the third day of a sit-in closing the crossing in support of their kidnapped comrades.
Major General Abdel Fatah Harb, their direct superior, tried to negotiate with the soldiers and asked them to reopen the crossing but they refused and kicked him out, chanting “down with the rule of the Supreme Guide”, “the police and the army are one hand”, and “Oh Sisi we are behind you”.
(Photos By: Nasser Al-Azzazy)