Egypt party floats initiative to halt Sinai violence

 23 Apr 2017 - 12:42

Egypt party floats initiative to halt Sinai violence
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CAIRO: The political arm of Gamaa Islamiya, a former militant group in Egypt, has floated an initiative for halting violence in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

"We present this initiative with a view to saving Sinai…and ending this crisis which has caused a deep rift in our national structure," the Construction and Development Party said in a statement.

The party said the endeavor calls for halting militant attacks against army and police forces in Sinai in return for stopping security crackdowns in the peninsula.

It also called for holding a national conference "that will include all Sinai tribes and stakeholders with a view to engaging in an open dialogue.

The party also called for halting media campaigns "that fuel sedition and question the loyalty of Sinai residents".

"The initiative is directed to all actors; the government and the people of Sinai whether civilians or militants," party spokesman Taha al-Sharif told Anadolu Agency.

There was no comment from Egyptian authorities on the initiative.

Sinai has remained at the epicenter of a deadly militant insurgency since mid-2013, when Mohamed Morsi -- Egypt’s first freely-elected president -- was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup.

Since then, hundreds of Egyptian security personnel have been killed across the peninsula, which shares borders with both Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Egyptian security forces, meanwhile, continue to wage a fierce campaign -- involving elements of both the police and army -- against what they describe as Sinai-based "terrorist groups".

Gamaa Islamiya had staged a deadly insurgency against the government in the 1990s during which hundreds of people were killed.

In 2003, the group renounced bloodshed and formed a political group following the 2011 uprising that unseated autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.