Friday, October 27, 2017

Al-Wahat shootout : 7 Days later

Seven Days later following the horrifying attack that killed at least 16 security personnel in Egypt’s Western desert and no group has claimed its responsibility for that attack.

Seven Days later following the incident that shocked Egypt for real and the Egyptian Presidency has not declared a single day of national mourning for some unknown reason.

Ironically and sadly, Jordan declared a-three-days-National mourning in solidarity in Egypt !!
On Monday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told France 24 in Paris that Egypt was in still in the first stage of investigations regarding the attack.
He also added that the Egyptian-Libyan borders were 1,200 kilometers and up till now it could not be fully secured as it was part of Sahara desert.

That’s very important statement and it was not surprising or shocking one for me because I know that the SCAF asked the Americans for equipment and expertise to control the Egyptian Western borders.

Yet, many people remembered how in September 2016, Sisi said in a speech how the Egyptian army could mobilize its units in six hours only to protect the Egyptian state and its institutions.

On Sunday and after 48 hours of that Al-Wahat Shootout incident where at least 16 security personnel were killed in a shootout with an anonymous group of militants, Sisi issued a statement condemning the attack and vowing for revenge.
Only after 48 hours of complete silence, the President held a meeting with the ministers of defense and interior as well the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence agency and other officials.
Sisi in meeting
President Sisi in the meeting following the shootout by 48 hours
"Egyptian Presidency"
Chief of Staff of the Egyptian army Mahmoud Hegazy did not attend the meeting that discussed what happened in the Western desert on Friday.
He was in the United States attending some meeting related to the coalition against ISIS.

Only after 48 hours following the attack, we heard from the Presidential palace what many people including myself to be said regarding the condemnation of that awful attack and a promise of revenge.
Many people including some of El-Sisi’s supported criticized him for not speaking earlier and for participating with a big grin at Al-Alamein battle of WWII’s 75 anniversary when the victims of that ambush were just being transferred to Cairo.

The official death toll

The Egyptian President was not alone late when it comes to the reaction.
On Saturday and after nearly 24 hours following that attack, the Egyptian ministry of interior issued a detailed statement of the shootout/ambush/attack with figures unlike the first one issued on Friday.

According to the statement, the security forces got intel about a hideout for training and hiding of a terrorist group inside the Western desert at 135 km Giza-Al-Wahat highway and that two patrols from Giza governorate and Fayoum governorate headed there.
The first Giza patrol was spotted by the militants who opened their fire using their heavy weapons from all directions.The Giza police patrol fired back and there had been an exchange of fires that lasted for several hours.
The shootout resulted in the death of 16 security personnel and the injury of 13 others.
The MOI stated that only 11 police officers, 4 conscripts and one sergeant had been killed.
The injured breakdown is 4 officers and 9 conscripts.
It also revealed that one officer is missing.

The statement also included a list of names and ranks of those who were killed.

The statement also added that following the attack, the security forces managed to comb the area and to kill as well to injure 15 militants who were evacuated from the scene.
The MOI stated that it released that statement as it managed to evacuate the dead and the injured and they were still combing the area.
In the following statement, the MOI released a very unclear photo of two alleged terrorists who were killed and it seemed that their bodies were left in the scene. 

There were interesting points in those above-mentioned statements, especially how the official death total was less than the unofficial death total that reached 54 or 55 in the wires service and news websites which quoted anonymous security sources including Gulf News websites.

It is strange that the Egyptian government ignores the fact Gulf news websites spread on its social media similar higher death toll like Al-Arabiya and Sky News Arabia directing its anger on BBC and Reuters.
Interestingly, waited for that statement for nearly two hours since 2.43 PM when I found the head of Sky News Arabia’s office in Cairo Samir Omar announcing that there would be a statement from the Ministry of interior regarding “Al-Wahat” incident.

Samir Omar has always those scoops from Cairo as usual.
Personally, I do not believe that the BBC and Reuters did a huge mistake because after all the Egyptian government or the Egyptian interior ministry did not release the correct numbers except very late not to mention the use of “militants” in English is not positive as the SIS thinks.
Anyhow, I wished that the Egyptian government was that angry at the regime’s favorite TV host or the regime’s favorite MP.

The Media leaks Circus 24 hours later

Infamous Pro-regime TV host Ahmed Moussa appeared on Saturday airing an edited audio recording for allegedly “one of the survivors” speaking about what happened and it was horrifying.

In that alleged recording, that man speaking about how the mobile phones were not working in that location in the desert and how the security forces were facing not less 200 terrorists as well how they attacked them in an ambush from a mountain.

Knowing that nothing on Moussa’s TV show is aired for the sake of freedom of information and for the love of transparency, I have been wondering how he and his team could air that recording that showed the security forces were not prepared well and how the “terrorists” won for real in that battle. I had million and one question and objection to release that recording in that time and in that way.

Then it turned out that what Moussa aired on his show was edited and that recording had a different story that can be more shocking it turned out to be true.

Independent political “Al-Mawkef Al-Masry” Facebook page published the whole audio recording on Saturday at 8:12 PM before Moussa’s show as allegedly a young police officer sent it to the page on the same day.

According to the page, that man speaking in the audio recording was a doctor working at the Police Hospital in Agouza who spoke with the survivors from officers and soldiers.
That doctor spoke on how the security forces were deceived by an informant who tricked them and made them go unprepared to that place deep in the desert where they faced heavy armed terrorists.
He spoke about how they did not get a back up in time and about how the terrorists divided the police officers and conscripts to kill the officers and to injure the soldiers.
Allegedly the survivors told him that the terrorists were young men between the age of 20 to 22 and they were led by an older masked man.

“Al-Mawkef Al-Masry” Facebook page says the recording was authentic as Ahmed Moussa aired it after editing and removing the parts that showed the government’s neglect jeopardized the lives of the officers and caused their death.

Sunday there was an uproar against Ahmed Moussa and I thought we could get rid of him just like Tawfik Okasha.  At 1 AM, the MOI issued a statement denying the authenticity of that recording and they were completely false.

The semi-official Media syndicate issued a statement declaring the suspension of the notorious TV host for broadcasting the recording.

That suspension would create a fight between the Media syndicate and the Supreme Council for Media Regulation that saw Moussa did a small mistake “just like prophets” as its head, veteran Makram Mohamed Ahmed boldly claimed !!!
In the end, Ahmed Moussa appeared on Sunday as if nothing happened to leave us with many question marks.

The Same thing can be said about famous Pro-regime Mostafa Bakry whom on Saturday recounted allegedly what happened at 135 KM of Al-Wahat highway in a series of tweets on Saturday at 12:18 PM.
Bakry who did not say his source of information claimed the following.
The national security got a tip from two terrorists arrested earlier that there was a training camp for terrorists in the Wahat region and so the orders were issued to form a unit from the special forces and the national security and head to 135 KM.
The mission was split into two groups, a group that would secure the Wahat-Giza highway and the other group would go to the desert into some mountain road 15 km away from the main highway.
The terrorists already knew the security was coming for them and so they set up an ambush and attacked the police force. The terrorists were not less than 100 and they were led by Hisham Essawy, the terrorist special forces officer who knew the desert well. Those terrorists who were arrested earlier by national security told them that there were 4 takfirist police officers that were fired from long time.
The force was confused as they did not have a cover from the air forces or a reconnaissance mission earlier.
The connection between that group and the group at the main highway was cut despite they were using Thuraya Phone and they had no mobile phone coverage.
Two officers managed to escape and cross the desert in a police vehicle reaching to Fayoum governorate , to Ibsheway and its general hospital. The number of martyrs is not few.
At 2: 15 PM, he claimed that the terrorists captured a number of policemen and later he said that they were freed as the army came and saved the day.
As you can see what Bakry said contradicted with what the MOI said later.

At the same time, we found a photo circulating for a Sp Op officer who was saved in the desert after hours alone in some vehicle as he fled the scene and signs of horror and fatigue with bloody clothes.

I won’t share the photo or the name of the officer because I feel that it was completely wrong to share it like that in his condition but I wonder why or who decided to share his photo like that in the first place.
Won’t this affect the morale of the soldiers and officers fighting terrorism?

Anyhow on Friday, the MOI announced that it killed 12 high-risk terrorists at 175 km of Al-Wahat highway. The MOI did not mention to which group those so-called high-risk terrorists belonged to.
Photos of some of those dead suspects were shared in the media”1,2”.

Their face cannot be seen and it seems that they were not wearing any footwear in their hideout when they were busted by security.

There has been no news about that police officer that was captured by the terrorist up till now.
Again no group has claimed its responsibility for the attack.
I expect that a gag order will impose later in this case.

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