Egypt soldiers injured in Sinai bombings

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At least nine Egyptian soldiers were injured on Friday in bombings against their armored vehicles in the Sinai border town of Rafah, according to a security official.

The explosions happened during a military operation in Rafah, which borders the Palestinian Gaza strip, said witnesses, according to Agence France-Presse.

Egypt’s army frequently conducts operations in the town in attempts to demolish smuggling tunnels to Gaza, as part of a wider campaign to subdue militant Islamists in Egypt’s northern Sinai peninsula.

The bomb attack came a day after four were skilled by a suicide bomber driving his explosive-stocked car into a checkpoint near a northern Sinai town.

Attacks on Egypt’s military and police have increased since the army’s July 3 ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi and a subsequent crackdown on his supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mursi hails.

Militants have launched a series of attacks this week, after at least 57 people were killed in clashes between security forces and Mursi supporters on Sunday, most of them in Cairo.

On Monday, three people were killed and around 50 wounded when a car bomb exploded outside a security building in al-Tur, the capital of South Sinai.

In the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya, gunmen killed six soldiers in an attack on an army patrol.

And in Cairo, unknown assailants fired rocket-propelled grenades at communication satellite dishes, damaging one.

Mursi, who ruled as Egypt’s first democratically elected president for just one year, was overthrown by the military in July after massive street protests against him.

Since then, army-installed authorities have launched a massive crackdown on his supporters.

Hundreds were killed when security forces dispersed pro-Mursi protest camps in August, and at least 2,000 Muslim Brotherhood members have been arrested.

The United States on Wednesday said that it was halting the delivery of Apache helicopters, as well as Harpoon missiles and tank parts to Egypt's military leaders.

Washington's review of deliveries of military aid, which includes parts for M1/A1 tanks, was not meant to be permanent, however, U.S. officials stressed, saying only that the armaments were worth “hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday in a statement the decsision would freeze “large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the government pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” according to AFP.

(With AFP)

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