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It was only after the feast following Ramadan that steps were taken to prepare for the dispersal of the two sit- ins of Rabaa and Nahda. Everybody was tense, expecting a bloodbath and bracing for it. After all the rumours about all types of weaponry smuggled in to the sit- ins, all the threats of fighting to the death before giving up on the sit- ins and not giving in till Morsi is reinstated, the fighting was expected to be vicious.
On the day of dispersal, the police sent verbal warnings over a speaker reiterating their intent to disperse the sit- ins and giving the chance to whoever would like to come out peacefully to do so, promising that they would not be held, interrogated or incarcerated, that this was their last chance to get out without bloodshed. While this was going on, a sniper from inside Rabaa, placed on the roof of one of the buildings shot and killed a high ranking police officer. It was then that the police started going in targeting the buildings where snipers were placed to try to arrest them and stop them from shooting. But this only followed a great deal of tear gas being shot into the perimeters of Rabaa. All this confusion unnerved most of those inside Rabaa, so the police opened up a corridor, a safe route for those who still wanted to leave peacefully. Several thousands started trooping out, carrying their tents and clothes, some with their wives and children, just peacefully walking out.
In the meantime inside Rabaa the hardliners were burning all that was left and were caught on film bringing out bodies already wrapped in their shrouds, out of the field hospital and from underneath the stage, placing them all over to try to give the impression that these were the “victims” of police brutality in dispersing the sit- in. Of course, this backfired rather badly when forensic evidence showed later that these were people who had died quite a few days before. Suffice it that they were already shrouded! But those of the mentality to believe the advent of the Prophet Mohamed and the Virgin Mary to bless them and urge them on, would believe anything.
Just a couple of days ago I saw the confession of one of those snipers on Facebook where he detailed their plan, how they were given orders, and by whom, to kill some of the MB members and say that they were shot by the police, citing these people as victims of police brutality and excessive force used in the dispersal. There were 39 snipers placed on different rooftops with vantage points for overseeing both the people in Rabaa and those coming in. They were a mixture of Egyptians and Palestinians from Hamas.
The dispersal of Nahda had less media coverage, but it seemed that it was the same situation of dead bodies discovered there which were killed a few days before. To the great relief of the general public the two dispersals did not result in the bloodbath that the MB tried to give the impression would be the case. True there were a number of casualties, but they were from both sides.
Sinai was something else. Though there was restricted media access, we still got the news through concise statements by the army spokesman. But other sources talked about a real war going on in Sinai. It seems that during the year Morsi was in charge, there was an infiltration of a large number of terrorists from all over the world, but specifically from Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was also rumoured that Ayam Al Zawahry, who took over from Bin Laden, was found in Sinai to run things from the ground. The biggest problem for the Egyptian side were the tunnels running underground between Sinai and Gaza. Hundreds of tunnels were dug, through which a very lucrative trade was going on, on both sides. This was the way all the gas was smuggled from Egypt to Gaza. Throughout the period from August on, the army discovered and demolished numerous tanks buried underground where gasoline was stored before being smuggled to Gaza. `So the first thing the army had to do was demolish these tunnels to stop the bleeding of our resources, and more importantly, to stop the importation of arms and the smuggling of fighters over the border from Gaza to Sinai. Added to that was the number of shipments of duplicated army uniforms that were caught on their way to Gaza. The picture started getting clearer. The plan was to have the Hamas fighters in Egyptian army uniforms committing atrocities, so that the people start rising against the army. Again I pay great tribute to the army Public Relations Team. These facts were all transparently explained to the public and evidence shown; but more importantly, the army changed its uniform and anyone wearing the old uniform was caught as a spy! I am very proud of my army and its leaders. The same trick was played on the police, who added certain badges to their uniform to differentiate them from the duplicate, false “police” played by Hamas.
A very dangerous area in Sinai is Halal mountain. It is made up of a plethora of caves where terrorists can hide, something like Tora Bora where Bin Laden holed up and gave the US a very hard time. But our army is trained in that kind of warfare and it took them something like a month to clean it up completely. The situation in Sinai is still fluid, as there is a difficult line to draw between the locals and the intruders from Gaza. Sinai and its people were very badly treated during the Mubarak era, so most of the locals have little loyalty left for Egypt. One of the best steps taken by Al Sisy was a visit during Ramadan to the heads of the tribes of Sinai, where he had an Iftar (breaking of fast in evening) with them, which makes a big difference in the culture, and where those who attended, extended their loyalty to Egypt and the army, and promised to help in trailing the intruders. Without their help no army could have succeeded in Sinai. The Sinai situation is still ongoing.
Continued … Part 5