Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2015 Contents A32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, July 3, 2015
CAIRO---The Egyptian military pounded Islamic
militant positions and killed 23 extremists in dawn
raids in Sinai yesterday, a day after an unprecedented
assault by Islamic State-linked extremists in the
restive peninsula that undermined government efforts
to stem an insurgency in the area despite a two-year
The fighting --- the bloodiest in the Sinai Peninsula
in decades --- heightened tensions across Egypt fol-
lowing the assassination this week of the country's
chief prosecutor in a car bombing in Cairo. President
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday vowed to step
up the legal battle against Islamic militants.
The escalation comes on the second anniversary of
the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed
In Sinai, security officials said airstrikes killed 23
extremists in dawn raids just south of Rafah, a key
Sinai border town near the Gaza Strip.
The officials also said the army was searching for
extremists house to house in the town of Sheikh Zuweid
--- where the militants attacked a string of army check-
points the previous day --- and was demining roads
in and around the area that militants had booby trapped
with mines and improvised explosives devices.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Militants in northern Sinai have battled security
forces for years but stepped up their attacks following
the 2013 military ouster of Morsi after mass protests
against his rule. El-Sissi, then the nation's army chief,
led the ouster and was elected president last year.
Authorities and pro-government media have blamed
much of Egypt's recent violence on the Brotherhood,
which has been branded a terrorist group. The Broth-
erhood denies involvement, although it and other
Morsi supporters have faced a sweeping crackdown
that has led to thousands of arrests, mass convictions
and death sentences. Morsi is among those condemned
to die, but has an appeals process ahead of him.
The latest bloodshed came as Egypt was marking
the second anniversary of Morsi's July 3 overthrow,
although the celebrations were muted amid Monday's
killing of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat and fears
of unrest by the former president's supporters.
At Barakat's funeral Tuesday, el-Sissi pledged to
bring his killers to justice. He signalled an even harsher
campaign against the Brotherhood, and since then
toughened anti-terrorism legislation has been submitted
for his approval. El-Sissi has not addressed the public
since Sinai battles erupted.
The coordinated assault by scores of extremists that
focused on Sheikh Zuweid involved a wave of suicide
bombings and an attack on its main police station,
which they shelled with mortars and rocket-propelled
grenades in a firefight with police inside that lasted
most of the day, the officials said.
The army said 17 troops and over 100 militants
were killed, although several senior security officials
from multiple branches of Egypt's forces in Sinai said
scores more of soldiers also died in the fighting.
The main insurgent organisation operating in Sinai,
which calls itself the Sinai province of the Islamic
State group, claimed its fighters targeted 15 army and
police positions and staged three suicide bombings,
two that targeted checkpoints and one that hit an
officers' club in the nearby city of el-Arish. The authen-
ticity of the claim could not be immediately verified
but it was posted on a Facebook page associated with
Also yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu warned of the growing threat to the region
from Islamic State militants and expressed condolences
to Egypt over the deadly Isis-linked attacks in Sinai.
"We see in front of our eyes IS acting with extraor-
dinary cruelty both in our northern border and at our
southern border," he said.
"Our hearts are with the Egyptian people, we send
our condolences to the Egyptian government and the
families of those who were killed in battle with the
Egypt and Israel share a border in the Sinai and
have cooperated in the past on cross-border militant
Egypt army kills
Egyptians carry the coffin of 1st Lt Mohammed Adel Abdel Azeem, who was
killed in Wednesday's attack by Islamic militants in the Sinai, during the funeral
procession at his home village Tant Al Jazeera in Qalubiyah, Egypt, yesterday.
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