Egypt Army Attacks Sinai Islamists As Terrorism Spreads

(Reuters) -

The Egyptian army launched an attack against Islamist terrorists in North Sinai on Saturday, killing at least nine people, security officials said.

Two Egyptian soldiers were killed late on Saturday when an improvised explosive device detonated in a road in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid near the border with the Gaza Strip, security sources said.

Radical Islamists in the rugged desert region adjoining Israel, who expanded into a security vacuum left by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, have been staging almost daily assaults on security forces and other targets.

Dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles backed by attack helicopters were used earlier in Saturday’s operation near Sheikh Zuweid, a few kilometers from the Gaza Strip, security sources said.

The army said nine terrorists had been arrested.

A week ago, terrorists fired rocket-propelled grenades at a ship passing through the Suez Canal on the Sinai’s western edge, vital to world trade as well as Egypt’s depleted state finances.

On Saturday, a bomb exploded at a Cairo police station for the second time in less than a week, state media said, although no one was hurt.

In addition, explosives were found on the railway line between the cities of Suez and Ismailia along the Suez Canal, but defused before they could do damage, according to the state news agency MENA.