Suspected militants kill policeman

2013-06-09 17:24
Mohammed Morsi (AFP

Mohammed Morsi (AFP

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Cairo - Suspected militants on Sunday shot dead a counter-terrorism police officer in the Sinai Peninsula after they swerved in front of his car while he was driving, security officials said.

Maj. Mohammed Abdelaziz, 30, managed to kill one of his two assailants in the gunfight in the town of el-Arish on the Mediterranean, the officials said. The second attacker sped off after the shooting.

Abdelaziz was a member of the counter-terrorism department in the national internal security agency.

Militants have stepped up attacks in Sinai as law and order broke down in the wake of the 2011 uprising that toppled Egypt's longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Along with Bedouin tribal gangs involved in smuggling and other criminal activity, criminals have taken advantage of the security vacuum to target police stations, security convoys and other targets.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media.

Last month, seven security personnel were abducted by militants outside el-Arish. They were later freed by their abductors. Last year, suspected militants killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the border with Gaza and Israel.

Islamist president Mohamed Morsi pledged to restore security to the peninsula and the United States has repeatedly discussed the situation with Egyptian authorities, offering security and border control advice.

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