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Funerals of some killed Sinai soldiers postponed until DNA testing

Coordinated attacks Thursday in Egypt's restive North Sinai governorate resulted in the death of at least 30, including army personnel and civilians

Ahram Online , Saturday 31 Jan 2015
A screenshot from a television broadcast of the funeral of a soldier in the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbiya
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The funerals of some soldiers killed in Thursday's Sinai attacks are currently on hold until DNA tests are performed on their unidentified bodies.

On 29 January, coordinated terrorist attacks in the restive North Sinai governorate resulted in the death of at least 30, including army personnel and civilians.

No official toll has been released. Reports by local and international media quoted anonymous sources putting the death toll at 30-32, while Al-Jazeera said 42 had been killed.

In the Nile Delta governorate of Damietta, security sources told Al-Ahram Arabic website that the funeral of conscripts Ahmed Abdel-Baky, 22, and Ahmed Mahmoud, 21, would probably be postponed until a DNA test is performed to identify their remains.

However, some funerals were held for some soliders.

On Friday, a military funeral was held in Cairo for some army personnel. The funeral was led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhi and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, among others.

In Upper Egypt's Assuit governorate, thousands attended the funeral of 22-year-old conscript Ali Abdel-Rahman.

The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks on an affiliated Twitter account.

The group, which has claimed a number of attacks in the peninsula, pledged in November its allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), the militant group that controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Following the attack, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi cut short a trip to Addis Ababa, where he was attending the 24th African Union Summit.

El-Sisi, in comments to the press before he left Ethiopia, said the attacks are "the price Egyptians are paying" for ousting the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013.

A statement by the army spokesman Friday said the attacks won't deter the armed forces from their "duty of uprooting terrorism."

Attacks by militant groups based in North Sinai have spiked since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, with security forces being the primary targets. The armed forces have responded by waging a military campaign aimed at eradicating militants from Sinai.

Parts of North Sinai are currently under an 11-hour curfew that was put in place following another deadly attack on 24 October that left 31 soldiers dead.

The curfew was initially imposed for three months but was extended last week for another three months, to expire 24 April.

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