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Apache Helicopter Attacks Worries US About Misuse of Aid

Repeated attacks by Egypt using US-provided Apache helicopters worries US officials about the misuse of the US military aid to the Egyptian interim government. A helicopter attack that fired rockets into houses of a little-known al-Qaeda inspired group had alarmed the US.

US officials said that Egyptian actions in Sinai and its heavy-handed approach in dealing with extremists in the area may alienate its civilians and spur anti-American sentiment as the interim government is using US-provided weaponry. State Department officials had also expressed their concern regarding Egypt’s adherence to US aid rules, which restrict the use of any military provision against civilians.

The repeated attacks may spur civilians to join the extremist groups in the region out of fear or uncertainty.

Around 350 police and soldiers had been killed in Sinai since July, but the heavy-handed approach of the government had them count civilian deaths and hundreds of destroyed homes in Apache attacks. Reports are also scarce and difficult to verify because journalists who publish the report are censored or arrested.

Political analysts said that the US is only fuelling the chaos in Sinai. According to US Senator Patrick Leahy, he would hold the US military provision and funding until the US has a better understanding of how the aid would be used and when they see that the government is fully committed to the rule of law.

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