Top Militant in Sinai Arrested, Suez Canal Disruption Attempt Made

Security forces in Egypt said a top militant had been arrested on Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula. At the same time authorities announced, an attempt had been made to disrupt the Suez Canal traffic, but had failed. No specific information was released.

Mohab Mamish the chairman of the Canal authority said an attempt by a terrorist element was made to try to disrupt the navigation within the waterway by targeting a ship carrying a Panamanian flag.

He said the attempt had been completely unsuccessful and the ship was unharmed. No information on how the ship had been targeted was released.

Authorities are using extra measures of security to ensure the safety of the waterway as violence and lawlessness has taken over the Sinai, where smugglers and militants rove freely and have targeted security posts and those assigned to them.

Mamish said the situation had been dealt with in a firm manner by the military and that for the most part navigation had not been interrupted.

Earlier on Saturday Port Said residents said they had heard loud bangs. The city lies on the banks of the Canal and it was not known if the bangs were related to the incident with the ship.

Authorities in Egypt have increased security over recent weeks after the military coup ousted Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist president on July 3.

The military accuses its opponents of attempting to destabilize the country. They have waged a big crackdown on security against Muslim Brotherhood members, from which Morsi is one.

State TV and media that are pro-military have described the recent crackdown on supporters of Morsi as a fight against terrorism.

Morsi supporters hold near daily protests and have done so since the coup on July 3.

In the area of the Sinai, the violence has worsened since the overthrow of Morsi.

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