Egypt: Militants execute at least 25 policemen in northern Sinai, as ex-dictator Mubarak set to be freed

Suspected militants attack police as officials announce former President Hosni Mubarak will be released

Bloody violence has continued today as Egyptian security officials say suspected militants have ambushed two police minibuses in northern Sinai, firing rocket-propelled grenades at the vehicles.

The attack is believed to have been carried out as the two vehicles were driving through a village near the border town of Rafah in the volatile Sinai Peninsula, located in the strategic region bordering the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The killings compound a day of loss for the country as 36 detainees, believed to be Muslim Brotherhood members, died in government custody on Sunday when police fired tear gas in an attempt to free a prison guard from rioting prisoners. The Brotherhood are calling the deaths murder, but the authorities argue it was the result of a thwarted jail-break.

In today's attack in Sinai, militants allegedly forced the two vehicles to stop, ordered the policemen out and forced them to lie on the ground before shooting them to death, the officials said. The policemen were in civilian clothes speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the attack has also left three policemen wounded.

Sinai has been witnessing almost daily attacks since former president Mohamed Morsi was ousted on 3 July. Military and security forces have since been engaged in a long-running battle against militants in the northern half of the peninsula. Militants and tribesmen have used the area for smuggling and other criminal activity for years and have on occasion fired rockets into Israel and staged cross-border attacks.

A view of charred security forces vehicles which were burned after an attack by protesters supporting ousted president Morsi overnight in the north Sinai town of al-Arish. Attacks have been happening daily  

Egypt is under-going increasing political turmoil following the interim government's successive use of force to clear Muslim brotherhood supporter camps and quell demonstrations, leading to the deaths of 750 people across Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president who was deposed in an uprising in 2011, will be released from jail in the next 48 hours after a prosecutor cleared him in a corruption case, his lawyer Fareed El-Deeb announced today.

He spoke after judicial authorities ordered Mubarak be released in one of the remaining corruption cases against him. "All we have left is a simple administrative procedure that should take no more than 48 hours. He should be freed by the end of the week," Deeb said.

Mubarak, 85, will still face a retrial on charges of complicity in the murder of protesters during the 2011 unrest.

The deaths come as European Union ambassadors meet today to discuss the escalating political crisis in the country.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy yesterday issued a rare joint statement warning that the EU would "urgently" review its relations with Egypt in the coming days.

The diplomats are expected to lay the groundwork for a coordinated EU response which would then be finalized at an emergency meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers, possibly by the end of the week.

The EU is a major source of aid, loans, business and tourists for Egypt. The EU and its member states last year pledged a combined 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in loans and aid for Egypt.

Additional reporting by agencies

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Email Marketing Services

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders