Egypt: Cairo Police Clash With El-Waraq Island Squatters Turns Deadly

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 17, 2017

Illegal use of state land is widespread in Egypt, as well as building on agrarian land in violation of the law.

Anyone using land that does not rightfully belong to them, he angrily said, is a "common thief".

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.

Earlier, the Interior Ministry said 31 policemen were injured in the clashes.

It said residents attacked the police with birdshots guns and rocks.

Since el-Sissi launched his campaign earlier in the summer, local media has been showing images of police and army troops demolishing buildings illegally built or operating without a license, attempting to project an image of a government keen on protecting what is being billed as "people's property". The injured policemen included two generals.

They say they responded with tear gas after being fired at but local people say the resident who died was shot.

Video clips posted on social media networks showed hundreds of angry islanders, mostly young men, at the man's funeral, marching through farm fields while chanting "We will sacrifice the martyr with our soul and blood".

A large force that had headed to the island was met by "some of the encroachers who gathered to protest against the implementation of the removal orders", the interior ministry said.

The injured have been transferred to Police Hospital in Agouza, Warraq Hospital, and Nasser Institue, according to the source adding that no deaths resulted from stand off.

El-Waraq is one of the Nile's biggest islands and is home to tens of thousands of people. "How is my home illegal when you have for years provided me with water and electricity", said resident and civil servant Mahmoud Essawi.

The mostly poor residents of al-Warraq Island, on the capital's northern outskirts, suspect the authorities want to build a luxury resort there.

Egypt's military says its jet-fighters have destroyed 15 all-terrain vehicles carrying weapons and explosives along with "criminal elements" after they were detected getting ready to cross the Libyan border into Egypt.

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