Egyptian forces continue crackdown on Sinai militants
Egyptian forces continued a crackdown against militants in the Sinai peninsula on Wednesday, military officials said.
Army helicopters protected ground troops as they stormed strongholds of militants who had fled Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid during previous raids.
Egyptian forces raided the villages of Baghdad in central Sinai, and the Bir al-Abed and Bir Lahfan neighborhoods of El-Arish, security officials said.
A Muslim Brotherhood leader, identified only as Mousa, was detained in Bir al-Abed. The leader is accused of stealing weapons from a police station during protests in Cairo.
Three suspected militants were also detained near Rummana village and were found in possession of a sniper rifle and large quantities of ammunition.
Two suspected militants accused of participating in attacks against Egyptian police and army officers were arrested in El-Arish.
One suspect, Hamza Abu al-Omar, 32, allegedly confessed to involvement in an attempt to kill a police officer in El-Arish three weeks ago.
The other suspect, named only as Husam, is accused of orchestrating attacks against military structures in El-Arish.
Twenty-seven suspected fugitives and criminals were detained in El-Arish, Egyptian military officials said.
Egyptian armed forces launched large scale military action against militants in Sinai earlier in September, in what officials described as the largest mobilization of force in the area since the 1973 war with Israel.
The army has killed around 100 Islamists in the area over the past two months, while militants have killed 58 policemen, 21 soldiers and 17 civilians there, according to an AFP tally.