Egyptian Police Arrest at Least 70 South of Cairo

Raid on pro-Morsi stronghold


KERDASA, Egypt — Egyptian security forces on Thursday stormed Kerdasa – a purported stronghold for ousted President Mohammed Morsi – exchanged fire with residents in an hours-long street battle and arrested dozens of suspected militants in the latest government crackdown on cities suspected of serving as redoubts for armed Islamists.

A police general, Nabil Farag, died in the violence, the first time security forces had returned to Kerdasa, an industrial town south of Cairo, since Aug. 14, when 11 police officers died in clashes with Islamists who were protesting the clearing in Cairo of a pro-Morsi sit-in. The Cairo action left as many as 1,100 pro-Morsi demonstrators dead in what became the initial step of a fierce crackdown.

There have been similar clashes in other Egyptian cities as communities become quasi-battlefields branded as either pro- or anti-government. The government has launched similar attacks in the Sinai, and earlier this week in the southern city of Delga security forces arrested dozens on charges that they'd torched churches or supported terrorists.