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Egyptian general, colonel killed in clash

By Agence France-Presse in Cairo | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-20 07:43

An Egyptian army brigadier general and a colonel were killed in a raid on Wednesday on a jihadist hideout as security forces close in on militants in the Nile Delta.

The Islamist militants have increasingly shifted their campaign from the restless Sinai Peninsula to the capital and other Nile Delta areas, with bombing and shooting attacks on security forces.

In the early morning raid north of Cairo, five jihadists with the al-Qaida-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group were also killed in a shootout that lasted for hours, the Interior Ministry said.

The group has claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks in a low-level insurgency that has killed more than 200 policemen and soldiers since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July.

The cell targeted was suspected of involvement in an attack on a military checkpoint on Saturday that killed six soldiers, and the assassination in January of a deputy interior minister in Cairo.

The officers killed in the raid were bomb disposal experts who participated in the operation alongside police, the military said.

It said "a large quantity of explosives" was found in the hideout, with the Interior Ministry saying militants had used explosive belts during the confrontation.

The hideout near the Nile Delta town Al-Qanatir Al-Khayriya, roughly 30 km north of Cairo, was used to make explosives, the Interior Ministry said.

Television footage later showed forensic experts sorting through bomb-making equipment and materials, including ball bearings used to inflict more damage in explosions.

Most of the attacks following Morsi's overthrow have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula, where jihadist leaders are believed to be based.

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