Egypt celebrates Eid al-Adha despite terror attack threats
Streets across Egypt were on Saturday thronged by Muslims celebrating the first day of Eid al-Adha holiday despite fears of attacks by Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM).
Cairo: Streets across Egypt were on Saturday thronged by Muslims celebrating the first day of Eid al-Adha holiday despite fears of attacks by Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM).
The ABM had posted an online video two days ago in which the group had threatened that it would launch attacks targeting police and soldiers during the 'Feast of Sacrifice', which they said would "be a black day on the infidel interior minister and his associates."
After the end of Eid al-Adha prayers in the morning, many Muslims headed to butcher shops, and others ritualistically slaughtered sheep, goats or cows and distributed parts of the meat to poor people.
Security forces have deployed about 200,000 troops to secure the celebrations and police patrols and bomb squads searched streets and public parks as part of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior's strict security plan to prevent any potential terrorist attack that could ruin the festive atmosphere of the holiday.
All-female security units were also deployed to check violence against women and sexual harassments that often happen during public gatherings.
The women units were deployed for the first time for Eid al-Adha in Egypt.
Meanwhile, a number of Egyptian activists today launched a campaign called 'Their Feast is in Prison', to renew their demand to release political detainees, who are spending the Muslim feast holiday in prison. The activists posted their colleagues' photos on billboards on the streets to express their solidarity with them.
Many Egyptian activists are now in prison after being charged of holding unlicensed protests, inciting violence or attacking security forces. Several of them are detained under the infamous 2013 Protest Law and still pending trial dates.
"Their Feast is in Prison" campaign is one of many other campaigns that aims at showing supporting with detainees.
The detainees also joined the campaign and started hunger strikes weeks ago. However, some are reportedly suffering from severe health problems, including activist Ahmed Doma and America-Egyptian dual citizen Mohamed Sultan.
Doma's health status was reported as critical by his wife Nourhan Hefzy, who wrote an open letter last month to Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, demanding an immediate release for her husband under Sisi's right to presidential pardon.
Meanwhile, as a tradition in Eid el-Adha, every year in the feast a number of prisoners get presidential pardon. This year, 401 prisoners have received presidential pardons and were released.
However, this year's released prisoners did not include any activists imprisoned under the 2013 Protest Law.