Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Jailan Halawi, 2 – 8 February 2012.
Armed theft and bank robbery are not among the common crimes in Egypt, yet this week witnessed four consecutive incidents that left the public shocked and seeking answers as to what the attacks might imply. The drama began on Saturday, 28 January, when breaking news announced that a group of armed Bedouins attacked an exchange office in the famous Red Sea Resort of Sharm El-Sheikh leaving a French national dead and two Egyptians, a German and a Russian tourist injured.
According to police reports, the French national was killed in crossfire between the police and the assailants, excluding the possibility that the attack targeted tourists.
Soon after the attack, a video taken by the exchange office’s surveillance camera was posted on YouTube showing three culprits in Bedouin attire and accents robbing the office in face of flabbergasted employees.
It was not clear how long it took the culprits to rob the bank, however, the one-minute video showed that all was done swiftly and smoothly in a hit and run manner.
As the assailants left the exchange office, a wave of shooting could instantly be heard. Reportedly, the police were waiting outside and in the chase, the French national was killed by the robbers, one of the suspects was shot dead by the police, and the rest were arrested. Some LE2 million was seized along with weapons.
It is not clear why the police did not make an early appearance … (full long text).