Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Syrian, Palestinian Roles Seen in Egypt Street Violence

July 12, 2013 11:31 am 1 comment

Screen shot of Egyptian security forces squaring off against protestors in Cairo, Egypt, July 8, 2013. Photo: CBS News.

Late last month, as millions of protesters converged in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and other Egyptian cities demanding President Mohamad Morsi’s ouster, tens were killed and hundreds injured, many of them by pro-Morsi gunmen firing into crowds (one such volley can be heard in video footage of a protest in Assiut, where four people were killed). Rumors began circulating that some of the shooters were Syrians and Palestinians paid by the Brotherhood to disrupt the protests.

There is growing evidence that the rumors are true. On July 6, the Central Cairo Prosecution announced that it had a Syrian national in custody, Mohamed Hassan al-Berdkany, who was arrested a day earlier while firing birdshot at protestors from Qasr Al-Nile bridge leading to Tahrir Square. Berdkany, who fled with his family from Syria after the start of its civil war, admitted to receiving cash and a shotgun from the Brotherhood. He named another Syrian, Ahmed al-Soury, as a key figure recruiting Syrians to join Brotherhood protests. He also identified a Palestinian, Bassel al-Feroun, as responsible for paying Palestinians to take part.

Little information about the investigation has been made public, and it is not clear how extensive foreign involvement in the Egypt crisis has been or whether senior Brotherhood leaders signed off on it. Nevertheless, Egypt’s new interim government appears to be taking the threat very seriously. The Interior Ministry released a statement advising Arab expatriates to avoid demonstrations, ostensibly for their own safety. On July 8, authorities issued a decree requiring Syrian nationals to obtain a visa and security permit before entering the country (under Morsi they were allowed in unconditionally) and began enforcing it a few hours later by deporting 276 Syrians who had just arrived from Damascus and Beirut.

The concern seems to be that Syrian refugees in Egypt (more than 77,000, according to UNHCR; otherestimates put the number at over 150,000) constitute a ready pool of recruitment for Islamist provocateurs eager to maintain plausible deniability. Most are relatively poor Sunni Muslims, have no prior connection to the Brotherhood infrastructure in Egypt, and are concentrated in urban areas where major protests take place. They are generally sympathetic to Morsi, who went to bat for them in June by closing the Egyptian embassy in Damascus and calling for a no-fly zone in Syria, despite the fact that there is less (and less intense) popular support for the rebels in Egypt than in many other Arab states (evident from polling and the breakdown of non-Syrian Arabs killed fighting for the rebels).

1 Comment

  • I believe SYRIANS are the SAME ONES who are decapitating Christians in Egypt as well…I have seen “their dirty work” on several YOU TUBE videos, how they maliciously severe the heads of innocent men,Christians, apostates, etc…and I know these are the ones who are capable of doing these gruesome murders to the Coptics in Egypt…They should NOT be allowed to enter Egypt PERIOD!!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →