A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Anticlimax: Kidnapped Egyptian Troops Freed

Nearly a week after seven Egyptian security forces were kidnapped in Sinai (one soldier, four State Security, two Port Security), followed by days of confusion and uncerta8nty, growing speculation about growing tensions between Morsi and the Army, stepped up warnings that the Army was about to move and would not negotiate, at least one accidental firing on a bedouin funeral, the whole drama ended anticlimactically today with the peaceful release of the seven captives. Ahram Online's account is, well, obscure:
The details of the hostages' release have not been officially confirmed. A senior military source said that the Egyptian army used a diversion strategy to secure the release of the hostages.
"The armed forces executed a diversion strategy by sending out mixed information through news agencies," the source told Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
"They (tribal leaders) were also the ones who persuaded the kidnappers to release the soldiers in the desert."
According to military spokesperson Colonel Ali, military intelligence officials played a key role in the operation to free the soldiers, who were abducted in North Sinai's capital, Al-Arish.
Whatever that means. I suspect the key line is the one about the tribal elders. This sidebar story suggests that this was more of a retaliation by local tribes than a planned terror operation; as usual, President Morsi is making promises to develop the Sinai and improve life there.

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