'Armed men attack peacekeeping troops in Sinai'

Security source says none injured; 'NYT' reports Egypt, US negotiating assistance package to boost Egyptian security.

August 12, 2012 05:23
1 minute read.
Egyptian soldiers in Rafah in the Sinai Peninsula

Egyptian soldiers in Sinai 370. (photo credit: reuters)


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A group of armed men opened fire on peacekeeping troops in Egypt's Sinai peninsula near the border with Israel on Sunday, an Egyptian security source said.

"The attack happened in Um Shyhan area in the middle of Sinai but no one got injured," the source said.

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The incident came just days after the start of a military operation in the area against terrorists suspected of being behind a bloody attack on Egyptian border guards last Sunday, which killed 16.

A group of armed men had earlier clashed with Egyptian security forces near the scene of the latest attack after they opened fire at a police checkpoint, the same security source said. No one was injured.

Police checkpoints have come under a series of similar attacks by armed assailants since last Wednesday.

Egypt sent hundreds of troops and armored vehicles into North Sinai
on Thursday to tackle terrorists operating near the border in an offensive that commanders said had killed up to 20 people they deemed terrorists.

The Egyptian army captured six people it considered terrorists in Sinai on Friday and the security source said three of them were later released.

In light of the increasing violence in Sinai,The New York Times reported Saturday that the United States and Egypt were discussing a variety of options to confront security concerns.

According to the report, the Pentagon was mulling over a package of assistance, for sharing intelligence with Egypt's military and police in Sinai. Options include intercepts of cellphone or radio conversations of terrorists suspected of plotting attacks and overhead imagery provided by aircraft or satellites, the officials said, according to the Times.

"We continue to discuss ways of increasing and improving the Egyptians’ situational awareness in the Sinai,” the Times quoted a Pentagon official as saying. 

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