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Egyptian forces continue Sinai crackdown

Sept. 8, 2013 12:32 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 6:14 P.M.)
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian army helicopters launched airstrikes in the Sinai peninsula on Sunday for the second consecutive day.

Helicopters stuck targets in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, shelling weapons caches and houses. The villages of al-Mahdiyya and al-Muqataa were hit by missiles, witnesses told Ma'an.

Reports of casualties and damage have yet to be announced.

An Egyptian security official told Ma'an that dangerous militants were being targeted, some whom are affiliated to political groups and others to criminal gangs.

The airstrikes will be followed by a major ground incursion, with troops due to be deployed in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah.

Late Saturday, Egyptian army troops seized several caches of grad missiles, RPG missiles, explosives, TNT and 10 anti-tank landmines.

They also uncovered laptops, missile launchers, explosive belts and maps, security officials said.

Two Egyptian soldiers were killed late Saturday by gunmen in the Sinai city of Sheikh Zuweid.

Earlier, Egyptian forces launched the largest military operation in Sinai since the 1973 war with Israel, bombing at least 12 locations in the peninsula.

Security officials said at least "10 Islamist fighters" were killed in the air attacks launched by Apache helicopters and in ground operations, while 20 others were wounded and 15 arrested.
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