Sep 16, 2012 / 1:02 pm
Islamic militants clashed with army and police troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday following the arrest of some of their members, killing one soldier and leaving six of his colleagues and two civilians wounded, Egypt's military spokesman said.
Security officials said the attack was in response to early morning police raids on the homes of suspected militants that led to the arrests, backing away from an earlier report that the militants had taken children hostage to be used as human shields.
Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali, the military spokesman, said the clashes began shortly after the raids, when militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles on the security building and troops. He said seven soldiers were wounded, and one later died of his wounds.
Security officials said at one point, fighters briefly used a school wall as cover as children were arriving. The military spokesman said the wounded included an elderly woman and a 10-year old child.
The dawn raids by police backed by the military focused on a number of homes in Sheik Zuweyid, a desert village about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from northern Sinai's main city of el-Arish. Security officials said four men suspected of belonging to extremist militant groups were arrested.
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