Terrorist attempt to target container ship in Suez Canal foiled

Attempt to target container ship follows arrest of wanted militant in Sinai

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 September, 2013, 5:28am


A "terrorist" staged an unsuccessful attack on a container ship passing through the Suez Canal, in an attempt to disrupt ships in the vital waterway. It follows the arrest on Saturday by Egyptian security forces of a wanted militant in the Sinai peninsula.

Canal authority chairman Mohab Mamish said a "terrorist element" had tried to disrupt navigation in the waterway by targeting a Panama-flagged ship. In comments carried by official news agency Mena, he said the attempt was "completely unsuccessful" and the container carrier was unharmed. He did not say how the ship was targeted.

Authorities have taken extra security measures to safeguard the canal as lawlessness and violence gripped Sinai, where militants and smugglers move relatively freely and target security forces and posts.

Egyptian authorities have stepped up security arrangements in recent weeks, following the military takeover that ousted Islamist president Mohammed Mursi on July 3.

They accuse opponents of the takeover of trying to destabilise the country, and have waged a security crackdown against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mursi hails, and other allies, arresting hundreds. In Sinai, violence has only worsened his overthrow.

The militant arrested there on Saturday is suspected of leading an al-Qaeda-linked group in an ambush where 25 off-duty policemen were lined up and shot two weeks ago, security officials said. The attack was one of the area's worst militant strikes on security forces.

The man, Adel Mohammed, also known as Adel Habara, has already been sentenced to death in absentia for killing soldiers in the Nile Delta last year.

His arrest could potentially undermine militant activities in the area, where over two dozen security men have been killed since July. Two other suspects were arrested with Habara.

Authorities have been engaged in a long-running battle against militants in the northern half of the region, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel.