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Gunmen kill 21 soldiers in Egypt desert

English.news.cn   2014-07-20 05:38:41

CAIRO, July 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 21 Egyptian soldiers were killed, and four others injured late Saturday in an armed attack by "an armed group" in the country's western desert, an Egyptian military spokesman said.

"The terrorist group targeted a border guard checkpoint near Al- Farafra Oasis and the fire exchange led to the explosion of an ammunition warehouse," Colonel Mohamed Samir added, noting that the military forces managed to defuse two car bombs.

Officials said the gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades in their attack against the checkpoint at Al-Wadi al-Gadid (the New Valley) province, about 500 km south of the capital Cairo.

Three months ago, a similar armed attack that took place at the same area killed five soldiers and an official.

Extremist militant groups has launched random attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula, as well as some other provinces across the country, including Cairo, since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year.

More than 500 soldiers and police were believed to have been killed as a retribution for the harsh security crackdown on the major sit-ins of Morsi's supporters in August, which left at least 1,000 killed and thousands more arrested.

Sinai-based al-Qaida-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group claimed responsibility for most of attacks against the security personnel.

On the other hand, the military are now working with the police to have launched a wide-scale operation to uproot the militants' hideouts in the Peninsula.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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