CAIRO: Police forces have amassed in North Sinai in great numbers the day after gunmen opened fire on a prisoners’ transfer bus, killing two policemen.
The security forces have gathered at the North Sinai Security Bureau, though up until press time they had not been mobilized.
However, there are fears amongst residents that the security throng will be mobilized to conduct the latest round of security crackdowns on the area, long a source of contention between the state and residents.
“This will not end well, they have never amassed in this manner or this number, North Sinai Tagammu party member Khalil Jabr Sawarkeh told Daily News Egypt, “I fear we will pay the price for what happened.
An officer and a policeman were killed and two policemen wounded Wednesday afternoon in an attack by unknown armed men on a police bus transferring prisoners from Ismailia to the coastal city of Al-Arish in North Sinai.
According to a statement on the Ministry of Interior website, armed Bedouins in three cars attacked the bus in an area called Be’er El Abd, killing Ahmed Osama Hafez, an officer in the criminal division unit of North Sinai.
Prisoner Salem Ali Salem, known as Salem Abu Lafi, who was serving a three-year sentence for the possession of illegal arms, and Hassan Abdel Fatah, the prisoner he was cuffed with, managed to escape during the shoot-out while the rest of the prisoners were apprehended by police.
Abdel Fatah later turned himself in and reported that two of the hijackers were critically wounded, according to the ministry website.
Two other policemen were also wounded in the exchange and transferred to a hospital under heavy security, according to press reports.
Relations between local Sinai residents and police have been tense in recent years, with Bedouin tribesmen accusing police of brutality and random arrests.