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Tuesday, February 15, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Bedouins step up attacks against Egyptian police in Sinai

CAIRO — Gun battles have erupted between Bedouins and security forces in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.


Bedouin gunmen are said to have attacked a police station in the northern Sinai governorate of El Arish. Officials said at least 10 people were killed and 35 injured in the battle on late Feb. 11.

"The Bedouins were trying to free their relatives in jail linked to recent attacks," an Egyptian security source said.

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The source said Bedouin insurgents in central and eastern Sinai have sought to exploit the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They said Bedouin smugglers and other operatives were storing weapons as well as transporting equipment to the neighboring Gaza Strip.

Officials said at least 170 Bedouins have been in prison since 2009. They said scores of additional Bedouins were arrested in late January and February.

Bedouin attackers have begun firing rocket-propelled grenades and mortars toward Egyptian police stations in Sinai. Reports from the peninsula, said that police have abandoned scores of stations, checkpoints and other facilities in fear of Bedouin attacks.

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