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600 Hamas operatives said to be in Sinai Peninsula

Aug. 11, 2013 at 6:12 AM
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CAIRO, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Some 600 Hamas operatives have entered the Sinai via smuggling tunnels from the Gaza Strip since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, officials said.

"We are moving steadily to eradicate terrorism from its roots," Maj. Gen. Ahmed, a commander in Egypt's Second Army, told the Arabic language al-Ahram Sunday.

Egyptian military sources said arms used by terror operatives in the Sinai Peninsula come from Libya and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian newspaper said. Some of the terrorists caught were trained by Palestinian operatives in the Sinai, the report said.

The sources said terror groups operating in northern Sinai receive funds from Libya as well as from people in the United States. A terrorist leader arrested by Egyptian soldiers operating in northern Sinai had a laptop computer in his possession that detailed sites the group planned to target and their goals, al-Ahram said.

Since Morsi's ouster July 3, there has been a marked increase in attacks on Egyptian civilians and soldiers in the Sinai. More than 30 Egyptian civilians and soldiers have been killed, including a Christian cleric who was gunned down, and three cement factory workers killed when their bus was targeted, the report said.

The Egyptian army began a major campaign in the Sinai this month to crack down on terror groups. Last Wednesday, an unnamed Egyptian military spokesman told Ahram Online some 124 terrorists had been killed or injured since the army began its campaign.

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