Thursday, 2 July 2015

After Sinai attacks ministry deploys security forces at Egypt border

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip deployed forces along the border with Egypt on Wednesday after attacks in Sinai by militants affiliated with the Islamic State reportedly killed over 70 people.

Iyad al-Buzem, spokesman of the ministry, said Hamas security forces and patrols were deployed along the southern border to maintain security and stability.

At least 70 people, mostly Egyptian soldiers but also civilians, were killed in attacks and ongoing clashes with Islamic State group (IS) militants in the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, officials said.

The attacks, in which car bombs were used, were the most brazen in their scope since militants launched an insurgency in 2013 following the army's overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi.

During the attack, militants took over rooftops and fired rocket-propelled grenades at a police station in Sheikh Zuweid after mining its exits to block reinforcements, an Egyptian police colonel said.

One car bomb attack against a checkpoint south of Sheikh Zuweid killed 15 soldiers."This is war," a senior military officer said. "It's unprecedented, in the number of terrorists involved and the type of weapons they are using."

F-16 jets responded by striking the militants in several locations, said officials and a witness, who added: "There are gunmen on the streets. They have planted mines everywhere."

Explosions were heard and plumes of smoke seen over Sheikh Zuweid from the neighboring Gaza Strip, witnesses there said.

The Islamic State group (S) said its militants surrounded the police station after launching attacks on 15 checkpoints and security installations using suicide car bombers and rockets. more


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