On Jan. 30, Egypt said it would close the Rafah border terminal along
the Gaza Stri, Middle East Newsline reportedp. Officials said the closure would be indefinite.
In a statement on Jan. 28, the army said the Illinois Army National
Guard's 2nd Battalion was not affected by the unrest that has swept Egypt in
which more than 150 people were killed. The statement did not cite reports
of gun battles between Bedouins and Egyptian security forces in Sinai.
"The MFO's bases are hundreds of miles away from Cairo where the rioting
is taking place," the Army said. "The rioting is not directed toward the MFO
or the ILARNG soldiers."
Still, MFO has been hampered by disruption in commercial communications,
particularly the Internet. Egyptian authorities have blocked most of the
Internet and cellular communications in an attempt to quell bloody protests.
"Military communication channels between the MFO and the Illinois
National Guard are still open and are being used to keep families abreast of
the situation," the Army said.
Officials said the National Guard's 123rd Field Artillery was deployed
to Sinai in May 2010. They said the unit was scheduled to leave Egypt in May
of this year.