By Michael Georgy
KERDASA, Egypt – Egyptian police often raid homes in this rundown village just outside Cairo, residents say — part of a broad crackdown on Islamists that has included the imprisonment of ousted president Mohamed Mursi.
Idle teenagers who can be easy recruits for jihadists. Women covered from head to toe in black. Profanities scribbled on a burned-out police station insulting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and calling for Mursi’s return.
Security operations in Kerdasa intensified after its police station was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades in August 2013, killing 12 officers, hours after hundreds of Mursi supporters died as police stormed protest camps in Cairo.
The state hit back as it has for decades in Egypt, a strategic U.S. ally where notorious militants such as al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri began their path to jihad.
Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, who was toppled by then army chief Sisi in 2013 following mass protests against his year-long rule, was jailed for 20 years on Tuesday on charges related to the killing of protesters.