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Egypt Says Libyan Militant Involved in Western Desert Attack

Egypt Says Libyan Militant Involved in Western Desert Attack

Friday, 17 November, 2017 - 07:15
A security checkpoint in the Egyptian western desert, May 15, 2015. AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Egypt's interior ministry has said that security forces have arrested a Libyan man in a raid on a militant group blamed for a deadly attack on Egyptian police in the western desert in October.

The ministry said police had captured the Libyan militant, Abdel Rahim Abdullah, who survived the air strikes that killed 15 terrorists, days after the October 20 attack left 16 policemen dead and 13 injured.

"The group...was formed under the leadership of Emad al-Din Ahmed Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, who died in the air strikes targeting the group" that carried out last month’s ambush, the ministry statement said.

It added that the group was involved in a massacre of Coptic Christians south of Cairo in May, although ISIS had claimed responsibility for that attack.

Egyptian police had for years been seeking Abdel Hamid.

He is believed to have joined a fellow officer, Hisham el-Ashmawy, in Libya following the 2013 military ouster of president Mohamed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Meanwhile, Egypt's armed forces said Thursday they have killed three "high-level" suspected militants and arrested 74 others in sweeps targeting militant groups in the northern Sinai Peninsula in recent days.

Military spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifai said in a statement that five four-wheel-drive vehicles and four bomb-making workshops were destroyed in the raids, as well as ammunition and fuel stocks.

He did not name a specific militant group or release the names of those killed.

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