North Sinai clashes 'kill 7 gunmen'
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Seven gunmen were killed on Sunday in a north Sinai village when Egyptian troops stormed the area, security officials said. Five others were detained by the Egyptian army from al-Jora village near el-Arish.

A security official told Ma'an that police and army officers came under fire while conducting a security campaign in al-Jora, leading to heavy clashes."People in the area supplied information that there was a group of unidentified people staying in a makeshift hut. The area was immediately raided. The group opened fire and the police returned fire," one police source said.

Other officials gave conflicting accounts of the number of casualties. One senior police officer said six people had died in the fighting at al-Jora - three from bullet wounds and three more whose scorched bodies were found in the hut which was burned. In addition, a seventh militant was seriously injured and taken to hospital in el-Arish in north Sinai, he added.

A resident of al-Jora told Reuters he had seen the lifeless bodies of two men who were not from the area, and said two other militants were arrested. "They resisted very strongly," he said by telephone. "They fired rocket-propelled grenades at the troops."

The clashes came just days after the start of a military operation in the area against militants suspected of being behind a bloody attack on Egyptian border guards last Sunday, which killed 16.

Egypt sent hundreds of troops and armored vehicles into North Sinai on Thursday to tackle militants operating near the border in an offensive that commanders said had killed up to 20 people they deemed terrorists.
Posted by: tu3031 2012-08-13