Outrage over shooting of policemen leads headlines
CAIRO: Reactions to Friday’s border incident where two Egyptian policemen were shot dead by Israeli border guards still dominate the news.
According to national daily Al-Akhbar, Egypt’s lower house has vociferously condemned the attack, calling for an advancement of the investigation into the incidents in order to “put an end to Israel’s violations.
“Egypt will not let this incident pass easily and it will not falter in defending its rights, Mufid Shehab, legal affairs minister, was quoted in Al-Akhbar as saying.
Following the incident, Israel said that the two Egyptian policemen were attempting to cross the border to Israel, a claim that Shehab has said “has to be verified through an investigation first. According to an initial Middle East News Agency (MENA) report, the policemen were killed as they stood on the Egyptian side of the border and were then dragged by the Israeli guards across the border “to cover up for their actions.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday, during a joint conference with President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm El-Sheikh, that Israel and Egypt will be forming a joint committee to investigate Friday’s incident.
According to Reuters, senior Israeli official Raanan Gissin confirmed that the committee would meet, adding, It was a regrettable incident [and that] a joint inquiry is going to take place in the next few days with Egyptian and Israeli officials.
I am sure that the lessons drawn by both sides will ensure such an incident does not occur again, Gissin was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Israel’s version of the incident, reads the Reuters report, is that its troops acted in self-defense after the Egyptian policemen stormed across the border firing at them.
In their latest raid on Muslim Brotherhood members, the Egyptian police, Reuters reports, arrested nine Muslim Brotherhood leaders as they assembled in the Umma Study center, in Cairo.
An interior ministry statement said that the people arrested were attending a secret organizational meeting of Brotherhood cadres. According to Reuters, police seized publications, documents and computers from the center.
In response to the incident, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the group’s supreme guide, said in a statement that “these arrests, which are backed up by the regime, targeting our group’s leaders are evidence of the regime’s inability to fulfill their promises of reform.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is paying the price of achieving a wide-ranging reform, [and] fighting corruption [that has become the backbone] of this regime. and the Egyptian people are witness to this, said Akef.
In an interview with Al-Karama newspaper, Akef sharpened his criticism of the government, saying “the regime works only for its own benefits.
“This [government] has no intention towards reform and it is famous, more than any other regime, for its disrespect for human rights, said Akef. “In addition, it has not achieved any progress in any area.
The Muslim Brotherhood bloc in parliament has also issued a statement condemning the arrests. According to Mohammad Saad Al-Katatny, one of the group’s representatives in parliament, “This act is a negative indication that the Egyptian authorities [are intolerable] of freedom of expression. The state wants to send a message; that it is [working] against the law, the same law that guarantees freedom of speech and respect for legally recognized entities.