At the crack of dawn on Thursday morning, heavily armed Egyptian militants pushed forward with their violent crackdown on supporters of Mohammad Morsi, storming and raiding an Islamic stronghold in the tourist town of Kerdasa.
Egyptian police with bullet proof vests, armored cars, and machine guns raided the village of Kerdasa, a largely Islamic tourist town, in the early morning hours. There, they arrested at least 55 people, according to the AP. The military-led government are also on a hunt for over 140 suspects linked to the killing of at least 10 militant officers, which occurred at a police station last month amid a wave of violent clashes between protestors and state forces.
During the raid, a gunfight broke out, killing at least at least one police officer, General Nabil Farag, the assistant head of the Giza Security Directorate. According to police and Egyptian state media, the dawn raid was a part of an effort to rid the country of armed pro-Morsi supporters. Official Egyptian channels accused some of the protestors of conducting widespread violence. More than 1,000 people have died in the raging political violence that began on June 30 this year, which is split into two key factions: Islamic allies are supporters of ex-president Morsi, who was ousted July 3 and has since been held in an anonymous location, and the military-led government.
When asked why the hunt for the suspected police killers took more than a month, General Hani Abdullatif, official spokesman of the Ministry of Interior — which heads up the military forces — said: "It took us too long to conduct this operation in Kerdasa because it is a densely populated area, and one of our main concerns was the safety of innocent residents. This was a very complicated operation that required a high level of security planning."
Little is known so far about possible civilian casualties of the raid.
The town of Kerdasa is the latest in a series of waves of crackdown run by the military. Three days ago, the same forces raided another town, Dalga, which had been taken over by Morsi supporters on the same day that police raided two protestor camps in Cairo.