25 Egyptian Policemen in Sinai
Egyptian security officials say suspected Islamist militants ambushed two minibuses in northern Sinai Monday, killing 25 policemen.
The officials say the attack took place as the two vehicles were driving through a village near the town of Rafah, located on the border of the Gaza Strip in the volatile Sinai Peninsula. According to authorities, the militants forced the two vehicles to stop and the policemen were ordered outside and made to lie down before they were shot execution-style. The officials said that the policemen were off-duty and in civilian clothes.
Initially, rocket-propelled grenades were believed to have been used in the attack. Egyptian state television also reported that the men were shot execution-style.
The officials told the Associated Press the attack also left two policemen wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The brazen daylight attack deepened the turmoil roiling the country and underscored the volatility of the strategic region.
A few hours after the attack near Rafah, suspected militants shot to death a police major as he stood guard outside a bank in the city of el-Arish, also in northern Sinai, security officials said.
Sinai has been witnessing almost daily attacks by suspected militants since the July 3 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a military coup. Egypt's military and security forces have been engaged in a long battle against militants in the northern half of the peninsula. Militants and tribesmen have used the area for smuggling and other criminal activity for years. Militants have fired rockets into Israel and staged other cross-border attacks there on previous occasions...
Monday's killings came one day after police fired tear gas to free a prison guard from rioting detainees, killing at least 36. The deaths of the 36 detainees and the 25 policemen take to nearly 1,000 the number of people killed in Egypt since Wednesday's simultaneous assaults on two sit-in protest camps by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The detainees killed on Sunday were in a prison truck convoy of some 600 prisoners heading to Abu Zaabal prison in northern Egypt, security officials told The Associated Press. Detainees in one of the trucks rioted and managed to capture a police officer inside, the officials said.
Security forces fired tear gas into the truck in hopes of freeing the badly beaten officer, the officials said. The officials said those killed died from suffocating from the gas...
However, the officials' version of event contradicted reports about the incident carried by state media. The official website of state television reported that the deaths took place after security forces clashed with militants near the prison and detainees came under fire while trying to escape. The official MENA state news agency also said the trucks came under attack from gunmen.
State media also said the people killed and the gunmen belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that Morsi hails from...
The government has ordered an investigation into the deaths.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 08/19/2013
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