Military sources have confirmed that Egypt's armed forces "will not give up a single inch of land" that belongs to the military, whether it is situated on the nation's borders or in Cairo and the governorates.
Qursaya, a small island in Cairo's Giza district, is among the lands claimed by the military. In an 18 November statement posted on Facebook, Egyptian military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali declared that the land in question was the property of the armed forces, which needed it for military exercises aimed at "securing the capital."
In November, 25 island inhabitants were detained by authorities for resisting efforts by military police to evict them. Despite a 2010 court verdict overruling previous eviction orders and recognising the inhabitants' right to live and work on the island, the armed forces claimed the island as military property.
Egypt's 'No to Military Trials for Civilians' campaign, along with other political movements, has continued to advocate in support of the local inhabitants' right to the island.
Twenty-one of the civilians detained during November's clashes were said to have told a military court that they had not originally been residents of the island; rather, they had reportedly said, they had been paid by businessmen to resist military personnel in order to justify the evacuation of the island.
The Qursaya land feud dates back to 2007, when the Mubarak regime attempted to force locals off the island in order to resell the land to Egyptian businessmen for tourism development. The government at the time attempted to evacuate residents forcibly using police and army forces.