Egyptian soldiers hurt in Sinai RPG attack
Published Saturday 05/05/2012 (updated) 06/05/2012 10:25
Egypt says it is deploying additional troops in the Sinai.
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- Two Egyptian soldiers were injured early Saturday by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade fired during a raid in the Sinai, officials said.
The soldiers were attempting to ambush gunmen on the main road between Sheikh Zweid city and Rafah, security sources said. Troops came under fire from peach fields before they clashed with assailants.
The injured were identified as 23-year-old Ahmad Rifaat Awad who was hit by shrapnel in the face and other areas, and 21-year-old Carlos Mansour Aziz who lost a finger and sustained leg wounds.
Egyptian forces sent tanks from Sheikh Zweid and Rafah to back up the soldiers.
Military sources say the attack is believed to have been conducted by "Jihadi groups" in response to the deadly clashes in Cairo’s Abbasiyya neighborhood on Wednesday.
Egyptian officials say the ongoing attacks by these groups in the Sinai against army and police forces are part of plans to control the peninsula and turn it into an “Islamist emirate.”
The army meanwhile imposed an overnight curfew around the defense ministry in Cairo after protesters clashed with troops there during demonstrations against military rule and the exclusion of candidates from the presidential election.
The crowd hurled projectiles and insults at the soldiers sent to defend the ministry after 11 people were killed in fighting there on Wednesday, and called for the overthrow of the head of the ruling army council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
The army fired back water cannon then teargas and riot police surged towards the crowd with batons. Scores of wounded protesters were taken away on motorcycles and dozens of soldiers were injured.