Egypt claims killing of Sinai militant leader

Photo: Egypt claims killing of Sinai militant leader / Arabic region

The Egyptian army Monday said that it had killed a leader of a major militant group in the restive Sinai Peninsula, dpa reported.

Armed forces spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali wrote on Facebook that Ibrahim Mohammed Freig Salamah Hamdan Abu Attieh, known as Abu Suhaib, had been killed in an exchange of fire with soldiers.

The militant leader was riding a motorbike. An associate riding pillion and carrying an automatic rifle was arrested.

Abu Attieh is the second Sinai jihadist leader whose killing the army has announced in as many weeks.

Muhammad Hussein al-Muharib, who the army said was the chief legal authority of the Sinai extremist groups, was killed two weeks ago in a firefight with troops.

Ali said that Abu Attieh was a member of the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis jihadist group, which claimed responsibility for September's attempted assassination of Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim.

The radical group blamed Ibrahim for killing hundreds of supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, toppled by the military on July 3 after millions took to the streets demanding his ouster.

The rugged Sinai peninsula has seen regular attacks by militants since the revolution that overthrew long-term president Hosny Mubarak in 2011; they have intensified since the military deposed Morsi.

In August, the military launched a major campaign against Islamist militants in the region, the second in as many years.

But local residents have complained of unjustified arrests and strikes on civilian buildings.

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