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Militants attack army troops in Sinai on Saturday, injure six

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Feb 2015
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Islamist militants attacked late on Saturday army troops at three checkpoints in Egypt’s volatile Sinai Peninsula, wounding at least six soldiers, a military source told Aswat Masriya.

Gunmen opened fire and threw rocket-propelled grenades at the army forces in the eastern city of Rafah, leading to a gunfight between soldiers and assailants, the source added.

The attack came two days after militants killed 30 people and wounded dozens in a set of attacks where mortar rounds and car bombs were used in the North Sinai's provincial capital of Al-Arish.

Thursday's attacks were claimed by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active militant group which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist group.

The army said it killed three militants on Saturday during a firefight after assailants attacked a military unit west of Rafah with mortar rounds and RPGs, state news agency MENA said.

Also on Saturday, an interior ministry employee was shot in the head in Al-Arish, sight of two of the deadliest attacks on 24 October that killed 30 Egyptian soldiers and wounded tens of others.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced the creation of a unified military command for all armed forces in Sinai that will administer army operations against terrorism in the region.

Egypt in early January began to double the width of a buffer zone along the border with Gaza aimed at deterring militant infiltration and arms smuggling. 

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