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Egypt general, colonel killed in militant shootout

19 March 2014, 17:20

Cairo - An Egyptian army brigadier general and a colonel were killed in a raid Wednesday on the hideout of jihadists suspected of involvement in a series of deadly attacks, the military and police said.

Five jihadists with the al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group also died in what was an hours-long shootout north of Cairo, the interior ministry said.

The slain officers were bomb disposal experts who participated in the operation alongside police, the military said.

The jihadist cell targeted in the early morning raid was suspected of involvement in a Saturday attack on a military checkpoint that killed six soldiers, and the assassination of a deputy interior minister in Cairo in January.

They were hiding out near the Nile Delta town Al-Qanatir Al-Khayriya, roughly 30km north of Cairo.

Militants have killed more than 200 policemen and soldiers in bomb and shooting attacks since the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Large quantity of explosives

The military said "a large quantity of explosives" was found in the hideout, with the interior ministry saying militants had used explosive belts during the confrontation.

Most of the attacks following Morsi's overthrow have taken place in the lawless Sinai Peninsula, where jihadist leaders are believed to be based.

Attacks on security forces have spread to the capital and elsewhere in the Nile Delta.

The deadliest attacks have been claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem), which is believed to be led by hardline Islamist Bedouin in the Sinai.

The group has claimed responsibility for bombing Cairo police headquarters in January and downing a military helicopter in the Sinai with a heat-seeking missile.



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