Policeman killed, dozens arrested in Egypt

Cairo, Sep 19 (IANS/EFE) A police officer was killed and 48 people arrested after Egyptian security forces clashed with gunmen Thursday during an operation in a town on Cairo's outskirts.

Police and army soldiers took back control of Kerdasa's main streets from Islamist groups as a result of the raids, although there were still pockets of armed resistance in some areas, security spokespersons told EFE.

The 48 detainees included the three main suspects in an Aug 14 attack on the town's police station that left nearly a dozen law-enforcement officers dead, state television said.

Senior police officer Nabil Farrag was killed in Thursday's clashes and five police and four soldiers were wounded by a grenade hurled by an armed man, who was subsequently arrested, according to the report.

Four other members of the security forces were reportedly wounded early Thursday at the outset of the operation, which Egypt's Interim Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said was launched to round up those responsible for last month's attack on the police station.

Authorities did not provide casualty figures for the suspected militants.

A group of armed men also held 20 reporters for nearly three hours until they were freed by the security forces, authorities told EFE.

Police and the army had taken back control of Kerdasa's main streets and its police station, but raids and clashes were continuing in some neighbourhoods.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in political violence in the wake of the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.

Critics accused Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement of doing little to address poverty and Egypt's struggling economy, of failing to advance the goals of the 2011 revolution that forced out strongman Hosni Mubarak and of seeking to monopolise power.




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