CAIRO, Aug 10, 2012 (AFP) -
CAIRO, Aug 10, 2012 (AFP) –
The Egyptian army has arrested six “terrorists” during a sweep in the Sinai Peninsula following a raid at the weekend that killed 16 soldiers, military and security sources said on Friday.
They were arrested during joint army and police patrols searching for criminals in North Sinai province, state news agency MENA reported, without saying when.
A security source told AFP that the six were known Islamist hardliners suspected of belonging to a jihadist group.
The army has been massing troops in the Sinai to quell increasingly deadly Islamist militants.
Overnight, gunmen attacked a checkpoint near El-Arish in the Sinai, causing no casualties.
On Friday, the town and its environs were calm, an AFP journalist said.
In El-Arish, a number of armoured vehicles had taken up positions. Also a tank was sitting behind a barrier of sandbags painted with Egypt’s black, white and red national colours on which was written the slogan “victory or death.”
The Sunday attack stunned the government and prompted President Mohamed Morsi to sack his intelligence chief and two army generals.
The army’s presence in the Sinai has been limited because of a general demilitarisation of the area in line with Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, but the Jewish state has given the green light for helicopter gunships to be deployed to combat Islamist elements.