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Egypt bans fishing in north Sinai as security measure

July 20, 2013 6:31 P.M. (Updated: July 23, 2013 10:41 A.M.)
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egypt has prohibited fishing off the coast of northern Sinai as a security measure to stop militants entering the peninsula by sea.

Egyptian security officials told Ma'an that the decision aims to prevent Palestinians and members of militant groups from entering Egyptian territory.

The ban will continue indefinitely, officials said, and will affect fishermen in El-Arish, Rafah and other northern coastal areas.

Since a crackdown on smuggling tunnels two months ago, people have increasingly begun entering Egypt using fishing boats, usually at night.

Egyptian coast guards recently intercepted a boat carrying 10 Palestinians, six of whom managed to escape.

Four of the men arrested were said to belong to a militant Jihadist group in Gaza, officials said.

Since the military coup that toppled Mursi after massive nationwide protests against his rule, militant groups have launched almost daily attacks on troops and police in Sinai.

Several members of the security forces have died in the unrest, as well as two Egyptian Christians, one of whom was found decapitated five days after being kidnapped.

Analysts attribute the Sinai violence to Islamist extremists seeking to take advantage of the political insecurity in the country after Mursi's removal.
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