Egyptian students from the Cairo University, supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, demonstrate inside the grounds of their campus in the capital Cairo, yesterday.
CAIRO: Two senior Egyptian army officers were killed during a raid on a jihadist hideout north of Cairo yesterday, as security forces close in on militants in the Nile Delta.
Six members of the Al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit Al Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) group, which has been implicated in spate of attacks on security forces, were also killed in the hours-long shootout, the army and police said.
The jihadists have increasingly shifted their campaign of bombings and shootings from their base in the restless Sinai Peninsula to the Nile Delta and the capital.
Ansar Beit Al Maqdis has claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks in a wave of violence that has killed more than 200 soldiers and policemen since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Mursi in July. The brigadier and colonel killed in the early morning shootout were both bomb disposal experts, the army said.
The cell targeted was suspected of involvement in a Saturday attack on a military checkpoint that killed six soldiers, as well as a January bombing of Cairo police headquarters.
The interior ministry said several barrels filled with explosives were discovered in the warehouse near the Nile Delta town of Al Qanatir Al Khayriya, 30 kilometres north of the capital.
Television footage showed forensic experts sifting through bomb-making materials, including ball bearings used to make blasts more deadly.
Police also found a sedan previously identified as the getaway car used in the Cairo police headquarters bombing as well as last week’s checkpoint attack. Most of the attacks since Mursi’s overthrow have taken place in the Sinai Peninsula, where jihadist leaders are believed to be based.
Ansar Beit Al Maqdis claimed the downing of a military helicopter in the restive region using a heat-seeking missile, as well as the Cairo police headquarters bombing.
The group said last week that its founder, Tawfiq Mohamed Fareej, was killed recently when a car accident set off a bomb he was carrying. AFP