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THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
Punjabis with two machine-guns, one Lewis gun, and a handful of civilians for whom there were not sufficient rifles. The main attack came from Waldia. The attackers numbered fully 3,000 fellaheen and Beduin, most of whom were armed with rifles, revolvers, spears, and old-fashioned swords. Fortunately, the attack was never made simultaneously at both ends of the position defended. At one moment about 900 convicts made a determined attempt at escape from the jail immediately behind the position, and if it had not been for the gallantry of the Mamour and the warders, the defenders would have been taken in the rear. The attack lasted from the morning of Sunday, March 23rd, to midday on Tuesday, the 25th, when Brigadier-General Huddlestone arrived with a relief force of 250 Royal Irish.
By that time General Bulfin had got the situation very nearly in hand. The numerous mobile columns which he had rapidly organised were spreading their web all over the Delta, and a punitive column under General Shea was pushing steadily into Upper Egypt. The repair of the railways had so far progressed that on March 19th passenger trains had been able to leave Cairo for Alexandria and Port Said.
To complete the narrative, the following extracts are reproduced from the daily bulletins issued at General Headquarters :—
Match 21 : " North of Cairo the main lines of communications have been restored. The main stations have been occupied and a regular system of patrols instituted. . . . In the central Delta and east thereof disorderly mobs are continuing the campaign of destruction and loot. The peasants have helped themselves to crops of the State Domains and fired the houses of the employees, also the buildings of the Behera Land Co. at Kom-el-Wahad. . . . Gatherings of villagers and Beduin have made further attacks on the railway-line between Cairo and Fayum. In the Fayum itself, large gatherings of Beduin are reported. Aeroplanes on patrol have in some cases been met with rifle-fire. . . . There have been several cases of attacks upon sentries at night."
March 22 : " Consequent upon the extension of militaryith the murders, and eighty-five accused persons ultimately tried at Assiut included the Omdeh, or village headman, two schoolmasters,Egyptian supplies, and some expression of gratitude would not have marred its glory. But the saving word was never spoken ; and the payments due from the military authorities continued to lag for months behind, and the ugly past towns, the Central Government merely making certain