BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian Cabinet announced a fresh reduction of curfew hours on Thursday as violence and bloodshed continued during a military operation launched against a stronghold of Islamists near the capital of Cairo.
Third time in a row, the reduction was conducted in light of the beginning of the new school semester.
Under the reduction, the overnight curfew will begin from Saturday at midnight and be lifted at 5 a.m., one hour shorter than the previous one. It will continue from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays.
Despite a shortened curfew, gunfire and fighting continued on the violence-torn country as the army and police raid a stronghold controlled by Islamists 15 km away from Cairo.
Known as Kerdassah village and neighboring the prominent Giza Pyramids area, the stronghold was believed to be controlled by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi since his ouster in June.
Police and security forces exchanged fire with gunmen inside the village, leaving one policeman dead at the scene.
Videos aired by local TV channels showed heavy smoke clouds covering the area. Armored vehicles and security soldiers sealed the village accompanied by helicopters hovering overhead.
Right now, 51 people had been arrested and 100 people are still on the run. Three of those arrested allegedly plotted an assault on the Kerdassah police station and killed 11 officers, the official Al-Ahram Online website reported.
The Interior Ministry said that dozens of weapons including three RPGs had been seized during the operation, and a daytime curfew had been imposed in this area.
Vowing to cleanse every terrorist and criminal element in Kerdassah, Hany Abdel Latif, spokesman of the ministry, said the operation will continue through the district.
The raid pointed to a new push by the authorities to restore law and order in Egypt, which has been roiled by unrest and violence since the toppling of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
It was also a consecutive step after the security forces stormed a town named Dalga in southern Egypt occupied by Islamists since Morsi's fall. Forty-five people had been arrested for attacking Christians in the town.
According to the Al-Ahram online, the town had witnessed arson attacks on churches, Christian owned shops and monasteries.
Responding to the military attack, Morsi's supporters fired back by staging a national demonstration on Friday, urging the reinstatement of their president.
Coinciding with the kicking-off of a new semester, Friday's protest would proceed under the slogan "You are the pillar of the revolution," calling on the youngsters to stand against the military.
The organizer, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, an Islamist grouping led by the Muslim Brotherhood who enthroned Morsi, said the protests would continue for a week.
Egyptian police storm militant hideout, 1 policeman killed
CAIRO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- A senior Egyptian police officer was killed Thursday during an operation against a militant hideout on the outskirts of the capital Cairo, official news agency MENA reported.
Egyptian troops and police stormed the village of kerdassah and one senior officer was killed and several others injured in an exchange of fire with militant suspects, the report said. Full story
Egyptian army vehicle attacked in northern Egypt, two killed
CAIRO, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Two Egyptian soldiers were killed and three others injured in an attack by militants on their vehicle in the northern governorate of Sharkia, state-run Ahram online reported on Tuesday.
The unidentified militants attacked the military vehicle near the city of el-Salihia el-Jadida, killing two soldiers and injuring three others before they fled the area, Ahram qouted a security source as saying. Full story