Egypt Cairo: Deadly battle between police and island 'squatters'

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

In order to vacate the state-owned lands, the government has launched a program on demolition of illegal constructions.

On launching his campaign earlier this summer, el Sissi said in televised comments said he would show no leniency towards a "common thief" using land not belonging to them. It did not say how the man was killed.

Police arrested 10 people, who are now being questioned for attacking the security forces, MENA quoted a second statement by the interior ministry as saying.

The violence broke out when police attempted to evict residents staying or utilizing state land without permission, part of an ongoing, nationwide campaign launched by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to retake state property illegally controlled or run for profit by individuals or commercial enterprises. The injured policemen included two generals.

Locals marched with Tafshan's body through the island's streets, chanting: "We will sacrifice the martyr with our soul and blood".

"The [police] force was taken by surprise as attackers gathered and used rubber bullets and stones", it said, adding that ten residents were arrested.

On Sunday, the interior ministry said there were up to 700 building and land violations recorded on al-Waraq Island.

Police and bulldozers rolled onto the Nile island of el-Waraq on Sunday, where they were met by rock-pelting crowds of residents who refused to leave their dwellings.

People of the island told Al-Masry Al-Youm that they woke up this morning and found police and army forces besieging Warraq in order to oversee demolition orders of buildings on the island. "How is my home illegal when you have for years provided me with water and electricity", asked resident and civil servant Mahmoud Essawi.

In el-Waraq, a mostly agricultural island with shoddily built apartment blocks, residents maintain that their homes are legal, citing the government's supply of drinking water and electricity.

A military statement Sunday said the warplanes monitored and "dealt" with the vehicles over the past 24 hours, but it did not say whether the airstrikes targeted them while on Egyptian soil.

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