Sunday’s papers continue to report on “Operation Eagle,” a military raid announced last week targeting militants in Sinai following an attack on soldiers in Rafah that left 16 soldiers dead.
But, as all the information reported on the operation is attributed to official sources, reporters on the ground who have yet to find any signs of the major operation officials have described, are starting to question it.
State-owned newspaper Al-Ahram quotes “a responsible security source” saying that an additional 75 soldiers (or 57 soldiers, depending on whether you trust the headline or the body of the article) were deployed in the mountain areas of Sinai. The source also says that additional troops and artillery were deployed to continue the operation.
“Al-Ahram’s correspondent” also reported on investigations of five members of the jihadi movement who suspects in the Rafah attack.
The independent daily Al-Shorouk also reported the arrival of additional troops and armored vehicles to the operation.
Reporters from news agencies, however, report that they found no signs of the grand operation described daily by military and security sources. One reporter from National Public Radio said that there were no signs of mourning in a village where militant deaths were reported.
Al-Shorouk reported statements issued by members of Jihadi movements through social networking sites confirming doubts regarding the scope of operation eagle.
The jihadis, as reported by the paper, said that military reports on the operation are merely for public consumption and that bombs were dropped in a vacant area for show and rounds were shot in the air.
The paper quotes the jihadis as denying news that fighters were killed in the operation and their tanks were destroyed. They said that the clashes that occurred were between the military and tribal leaders.
Its coverage also quotes a tunnel worker as saying that only seven tunnels, as opposed to a much higher number reported in the news, were destroyed during the operation.
The jihadis, as reported by the paper, say that Morsy is using the Rafah attack and overblown news reports about the operation to consolidate his power in the political scene and put the Americans and Israelis at ease as they demand Egypt take charge in Sinai.
The Freedom and Justice party dedicates its front page to the activities of President Mohamed Morsy in the past 48 hours. Attempting to fend off the attacks that the Muslim Brotherhood’s president is facing, the paper portrays him as a super hero.
Under the headline “The president in 48 hours,” the paper reports that Morsy has, in the past two days, met with the minister of electricity and ordered a fast solution to blackouts that have triggered anger against Morsy, met governors to discuss the progress of his 100 days project, broke his fast with soldiers in Rafah and met with the Prince of Qatar to discuss Egypt’s regional role.
The paper celebrated Morsy’s visit to Rafah and the ongoing military operation with the headline “Sinai is ours again.” The paper reported on the use of heavy artillery and aircraft and on plans to revive the peninsula.
Following the withdrawal of its last issue from the market with a court order, Al-Dostour paper continues to attack the Muslim Brotherhood and defiantly republishes the front page that led to the withdrawal of Saturday’s issue inside today’s issue.
The paper accuses the Muslim Brotherhood of attacking its publishing house and threatening to kill its editorial team and writers.
The paper also publishes a list of media figures critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, claiming that they’re part of 300 figures that the Brotherhood's paper is targeting. The list includes TV hosts Amr Adib and Lamis al-Hadidy and writer Ibrahim Eissa.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party