Cairo, Jan 13 (IANS) Ten terrorists were killed during an army operation to find a kidnapped police officer in Egypt’s north Sinai, hub of Islamist militants, authorities said Tuesday.
The kidnapped police officer was also found killed in a village early Tuesday.
The policeman was travelling Sunday in a bus from the north Sinai city of Rafah to Al-Arish when gunmen stopped the vehicle and took him away, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Through continuous search operations, the security men found the body of officer Ayman al-Dousoky in Mahdiyah village, south of Rafah city,” said Mohamed Samir, an army spokesperson.
He said 10 terrorists were killed during an army operation to locate the officer.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the officer’s kidnapping and killing, but the Al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a terror group based in Sinai, had claimed most of the attacks on police and army personnel in Sinai since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the army in July 2013.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis changed its name to Ansar after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which has since announced Sinai a province of the IS.
Since the ouster of Morsi, militant attacks have mainly centred in Sinai, which borders Gaza of Palestine and Israel, but extremist violence has sometimes crept into other cities, including the capital Cairo.
Hundreds of police and military personnel have been killed in the attacks.
Kidnapping of members of the security forces has been rare, but civilians have often fallen victim to extremist kidnappers.
Last week, seven kidnapped civilians were found dead, three of them beheaded, in Sinai, an official security source told Xinhua on conditions of anonymity.
The source said civilians were targetted in revenge for their support for the armed forces in the region and for providing authorities with information about militants’ hideouts.