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Islamist group clashes with Egyptian forces at Gaza border

Feb. 7, 2011 1:47 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 9, 2011 9:37 A.M.)
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- Egyptian security came under attack Monday by a group identified by witnesses as the radical Islamist group Takfir Wal-Hijra, injuring an officer and a civilian.

Security officials told Ma'an that the attack was launched on forces operating in the Ahrash neighborhood of Rafah city, with several Rocket-propelled Grenades fired in what was said by witnesses to be a two-hour battle.

The Rmeilat tribe, part of the indigenous Bedouin population, were said to have joined forces with with the security forces to push back the group, an offshoot of Egypt's popular Muslim Brotherhood with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda.

According to local officials, members of the same group abducted three Egyptian police officers from Dahaqliya on Friday, as the car of officers left the Al-Arish district on patrol.

Egypt had stepped-up border security after a clash with Bedouin tribes in the area during the first week of mass protests in the nation's cities demanding the ouster of the country's 30-year President Hosni Mubarak.

Eyewitnesses said they recognized several of the assailants, who were identified as belonging to the Takfir Wal-Hijra movement.

The injured were identified by security sources as officer Muhammad Nabil, shot in his leg, and a local Bedouin young man, 20-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Mahmoud, who sustained a gunshot wound in the chest.
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