Militants kill 5 Egyptian troops in restive Sinai

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2014 7:08 AM

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Islamic militants set up roadblocks and killed five policemen and soldiers early on Thursday in Egypt's restive northern Sinai Peninsula, where authorities have declared a state of emergency following a major attack that killed 31 troops last month, officials said.

Masked militants blocked roads with pickup trucks and stopped vehicles with troops or policemen, the officials said.

In one attack, near town of Sheikh Zuweyid, militants dragged three soldiers out of their car and killed them. In the other attack, two policemen were snatched from their vehicle near the border town of Rafah and shot to death, the officials said.

All the victims were off-duty and wearing civilian clothes, the officials added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

The northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since a militant attack on an army checkpoint last month killed 31 soldiers. Egyptian security forces have increasingly come under attack since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last year and a fierce crackdown on supporters of his banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Authorities have ordered residents living along the border between northern Sinai and the Gaza Strip to relocate. The army is also demolishing more than 800 houses in the area to create a buffer zone to prevent the movement of weapons and fighters through underground cross-border tunnels.

Earlier, the Egyptian army said eight navy service members remain missing after an assault the day before by "terrorist elements" on a navy patrol boat off the Mediterranean port city of Damietta.

Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said in on his official Facebook page that four assault boats were destroyed in the attack and that 32 attackers were arrested. Five troops were wounded in the attack.

The official MENA news agency earlier said that gunmen from three boats fired at the naval patrol on Wednesday north of Damietta, prompting an exchange of fire and setting the naval vessel ablaze. No further details were available.

Also Thursday, a stun grenade went off in a Cairo subway train, causing panic and a stampede in which 16 people were injured, the Health Ministry said.