CAIRO: Egyptian security forces fought running battles with gunmen, in which a police general was killed, after storming a village near Cairo yesterday in the latest crackdown on Islamist militants, officials said.
Military and police vehicles surrounded Kerdassah near the Giza pyramids after dawn, as police special forces deployed to confront “terrorists” in the village, the interior ministry said.
Giza deputy security chief Nabil Farrag was killed in clashes as 65 people were arrested in the operation,which went on into the afternoon.
Authorities imposed a daytime curfew on the village as they went door to door searching for 140 wanted men, including those behind an August 14 “massacre” in Kerdassah in which 11 policemen were killed.
Heavy gunfire was exchanged as suspected militants shot at police from inside several buildings.
The raid was part of a massive crackdown on supporters of Islamist president Mohammed Mursi, who was overthrown by the military on July 3.
“Security forces are pursuing their campaign in Kerdassah and will not stop until they clear (the village) of all terrorist and criminal elements,” interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel Latif told reporters.
Television footage showed a thick pall of tear gas over the area, as security vehicles moved around deserted parts of Kerdassah, a stronghold of hardline Mursi supporters.
Meanwhile, several metro services for hundreds of thousands of commuters were briefly interrupted early yesterday after two suspected bombs on the tracks in a south Cairo station turned out to be a hoax.
The cabinet said yesterday that a nightly curfew imposed on Cairo and 13 other provinces will be shortened by two hours.
It will now run from midnight to 5 am except on Fridays, the weekly Muslim day of prayer and often a trigger for unrest, when it will begin at 7 pm.