4 dead, 19 hurt in Egypt's Sinai clashes

2011-07-30 15:50
Cairo - An Egyptian army officer and three civilian bystanders were shot dead in fighting between an armed group and security forces in northern Sinai, security sources said on Saturday.

About 100 armed men rode through the town of el-Arish on Friday on motorcycles and in cars, waving flags with Islamic slogans and firing in the air, Sinai security sources said.

They then attacked a police station, engaging in a shootout with the police and army in which the army officer died.

In a statement released early on Saturday, the armed forces said they had arrested five suspects. The identity of the attackers has not been released.

Three civilians, a 70-year-old man, a 13-year-old boy and an 18-year-old youth were caught up in the shooting and died from bullet wounds, the ministry of health said in a statement.

Four army officers, nine security guards and six civilians were wounded in the attack and taken to an army hospital for treatment, MENA state news agency reported.

Witnesses said the attackers, many of whom wore masks, did not seem to be from the area as they lost their way several times before reaching the police station.

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