BBC, Al Jazeera
CAIRO - At least 24 Egyptian police officers were killed Monday morning in an ambush attack in the Sinai peninsula, as the open conflict between state authorities and Islamists opponents deepens further following the deadliest week in recent memory.
According to Al Jazeera, two police minibuses were driving through a village near the town of Rafah on the Gaza border when unknown fighters ambushed them and fired rocket-propelled grenades at the vehicles. At least two other officers were injured.
There were conflicting reports about the attack. According to security forces quoted by the Associated Press, four armed men stopped the vehicles before forcing the police officers to get out and shooting them.
The Sinai peninsula has been witnessing near daily attacks since President Mohamed Morsi's destitution in a military coup on July 3. But Monday's attack was the deadliest in the region in six years, topping an August 2012 attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers, Al Jazeera said.
The attack occured as Egyptian cities remained on edge after more than 830 people have been killed since Wednesday, including 70 members of the security forces.
The past 72 hours have included more deadly clashes, as the political stakes continue to climb, both at home and abroad.
- The lawyer for former President Hosni Mubarak said his client would be freed this week after a prosecutor cleared him of charges.
- On Monday morning, EU ambassadors met in Brussels to discuss the situation in Egypt amidst international alarm at the growing death toll from unrest across the country. The meeting follows Sunday’s warning that the EU would "urgently" review its relations with Egypt over the coming days.
- On Sunday, 36 detained protesters were killed in still unclear circumstances in a transfer between Cairo and a prison on the outskirts of the capital. The police say the incident happened while the prisoners tried to escape, while the Muslim Brotherhood says they were killed in cold blood. There are reports that the prisoners died from suffocation after tear gas was fired.
- On Sunday, Morsi supporters cancelled several protest demonstrations, citing “security reasons”, according to Yasmine Adel, an Anti-Coup Alliance spokesperson.
- General al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian army, spoke publicly on Sunday for the first time since the beginning of the bloodshed last week. In front of hundreds of security forces, he promised to be uncompromising with any violence from the Muslim Brotherhood, but said there was space for Islamists in Egypt's future. The army has said it is considering an outright ban on the Muslim Brotherhood.
- The government announced it would dissolve militias in anti-Islamist neighborhoods in Cairo. These armed groups attacked those who they think are Islamist – bearded men or entirely veiled women – and foreign journalists, whom they accused of supporting deposed President Mohamed Morsi.
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