A picture taken from the Southern Gaza Strip shows Egyptian soldiers standing guard on top of a minaret in the Egyptian border town of Rafah on September 8, 2013
A picture taken from the Southern Gaza Strip shows Egyptian soldiers standing guard on top of a minaret in the Egyptian border town of Rafah on September 8, 2013 © Said Khatib - AFP/File
A picture taken from the Southern Gaza Strip shows Egyptian soldiers standing guard on top of a minaret in the Egyptian border town of Rafah on September 8, 2013
AFP
Last updated: April 12, 2014

Egypt troops kill top Sinai militant

Egyptian troops on Friday killed a prominent militant in the restive Sinai Peninsula where Islamist fighters have increasingly targeted security forces since last year's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.

Nour al-Hamdeen was "one of the most prominent and dangerous extremists", military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement.

Hamdeen was ambushed by troops on a road to Al-Tuma village in the northern Sinai, and was killed in the ensuing firefight.

The army has poured troops into the mountainous and underdeveloped Sinai bordering the Palestinian Gaza Strip and Israel, to combat growing militancy.

Most attacks in the northern Sinai have targeted soldiers and policemen, but militants have also expanded their reach to the Nile Delta and Cairo.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group, has claimed some of the deadliest attacks in Egypt since the army removed Morsi last July 3.

In its latest video released on jihadist forums, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis aired footage of a suicide bomber carrying out a December attack on police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, which killed 15 people.

The video named the bomber as Imam Maraie Imam Mahfouz or Abu Mariam, and said he was previously wounded in pro-Morsi demonstrations near Cairo's Ramses Square, the site of deadly clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and security forces last year.

The video shows the bomber, wearing a white robe, lashing out at the military before driving a vehicle and carrying out the late-night attack.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed the bombing, but the military-installed authorities blamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood for it instead.

After the Mansoura bombing -- which the Brotherhood had condemned -- the authorities designated it as a "terrorist group".

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