UPDATE - MOI says it eliminated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members in Suez

Sunday 14-09-2014 03:39 PM
UPDATE - MOI says it eliminated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members in Suez

CAIRO, Sept 14 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's interior ministry eliminated a group of "terrorists" affiliated with the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militant group after heavy crossfire in Suez, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced on Sunday.

The seven Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis members are responsible for a group of terrorist attacks which have targeted security forces recently, most notably an attack on a military checkpoint in the Farafra Oasis in southern Egypt which left 21 security personnel killed, Ibrahim said.

Unknown gunmen tried to break into the checkpoint while carrying rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and explosives on July 19, a military spokesperson said. Some of them were killed after a confrontation with soldiers stationed there, he added.

The assailants then fired RPGs blowing up the store ammunition, killing 21 of the soldiers at the checkpoint, before fleeing the scene.

The killed militants were also implicated in an attack on a police vehicle on the Dabaa/ Matrouh road on August 5, Ibrahim said.

The minister added that the eliminated militants were also involved in an attack on the Daqahliya Security Headquarters on December 24 and the Cairo Security Headquarters on January 24. 

"I assure you security sources are capable of facing terrorist elements and outlaws," Ibrahim said during a televised press conference. 

Egypt's security forces have intensified their security measures in North Sinai in reaction to repeated militant attacks that target army and police officials, which rose significantly since the military ouster of former President Mohamed Mursi last year. The attacks soon expanded to other areas of the country, including the capital.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is one of the most active militant groups operating in Egypt. The militant group has claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks in Cairo and Sinai, including an attempt on Ibrahim's life last September.

A fact-sheet prepared by Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs put the death toll for terrorism acts which took place since January 2011 and until April 2014 at 971, including 664 security personnel.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabi hosted talks in Jeddah to discuss means of combating extremist groups within the region.

The talks, attended by representatives from the United States as well as Arab and Muslim countries, granted the support of 10 Arab countries - including Egypt - to the U.S. in a "coordinated military campaign" against Islamic State fighters in Iraq.

During a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the newly formed coalition should fight other militant groups in the region and not just Islamic State fighters.

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