Security forces exchange fire with Bedouins over riot suspects
Egyptian security forces exchanged fire with a group of Bedouins Sunday in the Sinai peninsula in renewal of clashes that took place earlier in November, dpa reported.
The 30-minute firefight arose as police were trying to detain suspects in the earlier riots that took place in the city of Rafah, a security source said.
The source said that the shooting was started by Bedouins who were able to hit two police armoured vehicles, but no casualties were reported.
Witnesses told dpa that the shooting was continuing with wounded on both sides, and claimed that the Bedouins destroyed one armoured vehicle and hit another.
Earlier this month, a Bedouin group in the Sinai peninsula took hostage 25 members of Egypt's security forces including the chief of the central security forces in Sinai.
The group reportedly has links to members of the community who have been protesting the shooting of two men who allegedly refused to stop their car at a security checkpoint. One man was killed and the other wounded.
The group later set free the captive officers after negotiations with North Sinai Governor Mohammed Shusha and local tribal leaders.
Relations between the Bedouin and Egypt's security forces are generally tense. The Bedouin often accuse police of discriminating against them, including detention without charge.
Relations deteriorated after 2005, as police arrested thousands of Bedouin on suspicion of involvement in a series of bombings in tourist resorts in Sinai between 2004 and 2006.
Around 200,000 Bedouin, spread over 15 tribes, live in northern Sinai. The area is one of the poorest in Egypt and has a high rate of unemployment.