Egypt forces kill 6 militants planning Eid attacks

By Mohammed Mahmoud in Cairo

Members of a terror cell had been planning attacks on various targets from their base in this building in 6th of October City. [Photo courtesy of Egypt’s Interior Ministry]

Members of a terror cell had been planning attacks on various targets from their base in this building in 6th of October City. [Photo courtesy of Egypt’s Interior Ministry]

Egyptian forces killed six militants during a raid and ensuing clashes in 6th of October City, south of Cairo, the Interior Ministry said Monday (August 13th).

The operation was launched after security agencies received confirmation that members of a terror cell were hiding in a residential unit in 6th of October City.

The cell members had been planning to carry out "terrorist operations aimed at terrorising citizens, spreading chaos and adversely affecting security and economic conditions", the ministry said in a statement.

The cell planned to target vital facilities, new economic projects, Christian churches and police and army officers during Eid al-Adha, the statement said.

"As soon as the security forces raided the place where the cell members were hiding, they opened fire on our forces, prompting them to deal with the source of fire and kill six elements," the ministry said.

Previous attacks thwarted

Egyptian forces also foiled a terrorist plot targeting vital facilities in the North Sinai provincial capital of al-Arish, the ministry said in a Sunday statement.

Security forces killed 12 "terrorist elements" during confrontations with militants in the area, the statement said.

"The confrontations started after the ministry’s National Security Sector obtained information that a group of terrorists were using a fenced plot of land in al-Malalha, in the vicinity of 3rd al-Arish police station, as a hideout," it said.

"The necessary co-ordination was immediately made with the other security agencies," the statement said, adding that militants who opened fire on the security forces were killed.

"Twelve elements were killed, and we are now in the process of identifying them," the ministry said, noting that "machine guns and several improvised explosive devices [IEDs] set for detonation were found in their possession".

Egyptian authorities also arrested six members of a "terrorist cell" behind a failed Saturday suicide attack on a church in the outskirts of Cairo, the interior ministry said Sunday.

A suicide bomber attempted to attack the Virgin Mary Church in the Shobra al-Kheima district, but blew himself up before reaching his target, AFP reported.

Authorities said an explosive device hidden beneath his clothing detonated as he retreated due to the heavy police presence around the church.

Police identified the bomber as Omar Mohamed Ahmed and said he was part of a "terrorist cell".

Tracking terror cells

Egyptian forces have recently improved the way they track terror cells, collect information on their movements and anticipate their actions, security expert Maj. Gen. Alaa Eddin Abdul Meguid told Al-Mashareq.

"This is clearly manifested in foiling the plan to target the Virgin Mary Church... as well as the Sunday and Monday operations," he added.

"Pre-emptive strikes against those groups, based on the monitoring and tracking information collected by the security forces, are the key to foiling many terrorist plans," he said.

"Policemen are making great efforts in Sinai and all governorates to put an end to terrorism and preserve security and stability in the country," he added.

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