EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian army units and security forces raided several homes in the northern Sinai peninsula Monday, killing one suspected militant and arresting 4 others, security officials said.
The raids are part of a major operation against al-Qaida-inspired militants in Sinai who have taken advantage the security vacuum in the area following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak's in February to launch increasingly brazen attacks on police patrols and a key pipeline that carries natural gas to Jordan and Israel.
On Monday, troops backed by armored vehicles carried out five raids in el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai, security officials said. In one location, they clashed with gunmen, killing one, and arrested four others.
The five included four Egyptians from outside the Sinai and one Palestinian from Gaza who belongs to the Islamic Jihad militant faction, the officials said.
All five had broken out of Egyptian prisons during the chaos surrounding the country's uprising and fled to the northern Sinai, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
Security forces also arrested seven other people Monday who were had been in prison on criminal charges and fled during the uprising.