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Section: Flash Points

Egyptian forces clash with militants

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gyptian security forces backed by helicopters have clashed with militants after entering a town near Cairo. Soldiers went into Kerdasah at about 05:30 local time (03:30 GMT) to target "criminal and terrorist hotbeds", officials told Mena news agency. Militants shot dead Gen Nabil Farag, a senior policeman, state media said. Eleven police officers were killed at a police station in Kerdasah last month, weeks after the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July. Reporting from the centre of Kerdasah, the BBC's Quentin Sommerville said a major operation was under way. Security forces were searching homes in Kerdasah for members of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, residents told the BBC. 'Down with Sisi' In the hours before police and soldiers moved in, the mood in the town was defiant, our correspondent says. Thousands of people attended a pro-Morsi rally on Wednesday night amid shouts of "Down with Sisi", referring to the head of the army. The authorities had promised to respond to the deadly attack on the police station in August. An Egyptian man walks past a torched and vandalised police station on 24 August, 2013 in the Kerdasah neighbourhood of Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, that was attacked on 14 August 14. Eleven police officers died when this police station was set on fire last month According to state media, Assistant Interior Minister for Central Security Maj Gen Ashraf Abdullah met troops shortly before the mission began. After performing dawn prayers, the troops began taking their positions in armoured vehicles ready for the start of the operation, Mena reported. State-run Nile News TV later showed live pictures of army vehicles positioned in Kerdasah and other armoured vehicles moving in the area. MAP Military roadblocks outside Kerdasah prevented people from entering the area, our correspondent says. "I can't be responsible if you get shot," an officer was heard telling a local man. An Egyptian interior ministry spokesman told Nile News: "There are still some armed elements on rooftops in Kerdasah and we are currently dealing with them." In a separate incident on Thursday, several metro lines in the capital were disrupted after two unexploded bombs were found on the tracks near Hilmiyat al-Zaytun station in the south of Cairo. Security officials said bomb experts were dispatched to the scene and defused the "primitive" devices before rail services resumed. 'Outsiders' At least 1,000 people - including about 100 police officers - have died in unrest following President Morsi's removal from power. The deadliest incidents took place when security forces moved in to disperse two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo last month. An Egyptian street vendor sits opposite a torched and vandalised police station on 24 August 24, 2013 in the Kerdasah neighbourhood of Giza. Kerdasah has been identified as a 'hotbed' of support for the Muslim Brotherhood Kerdasah, known for producing and selling textiles, is 14km (8.7 miles) from Cairo. Residents were quoted on Wednesday saying they did not trust police: "We know they will come to arrest people we know and respect whom they blame for the violence that we know was done by outsiders, not by our respectable sheikhs," Ahmed Aly told Reuters news agency. Egyptian forces arrested dozens of residents during a raid on Monday on pro-Morsi supporters in the town of Delga, Minya province, about 300km south of Cairo.




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19.09.2013. 11:38:00