Forces raid Islamist bastion near CairoAgence France-Presse . Cairo
A police general was killed when Egyptian security forces stormed a village on the outskirts of Cairo on Thursday in the latest crackdown on Islamist militants, security officials said.
Military and police vehicles surrounded Kerdassah in the shadow of the Giza pyramids after dawn, as police special forces deployed to confront ‘terrorists’ in the village, the interior ministry said.
Giza security chief Nabil Farrag was killed in clashes as 48 people were arrested in the operation.
Authorities slapped a daytime curfew on the village as they went door to door searching for 140 wanted men, including those behind a ‘massacre’ in Kerdassah in which 11 policemen were killed on August 14, amid heavy gunfire.
Thursday’s raid is part of a massive crackdown on supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was overthrown by the military on July 3.
Around 1,000 Islamists have been killed in the campaign in two months, as have dozens of soldiers and policemen.
Morsi is himself being held by the military at an unknown location, and hundreds of members of his Muslim Brotherhood are being detained on various charges.
Authorities installed by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have vowed to end the recent wave of ‘terrorism’ which they attribute to Morsi supporters.
‘Security forces are pursuing their campaign in Kerdassah and will not stop until they clear (the village) of all terrorist and criminal elements,’ interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel Latif told reporters.
Television footage showed a think pall of tear gas over the area, as security vehicles moved around deserted parts of Kerdassah, a stronghold of hardline supporters of Morsi.
On August 14, just hours after a crackdown on two protest camps in Cairo of Morsi supporters, 11 policemen were found dead at Kerdassah police station.
Several other police stations near the village were also torched.
Thursday’s operation comes days after a similar raid on the central Egyptian town of Delga in Minya province, which was held by hardline Islamists for more than a month.
Since the Islamists’ takeover there, three churches were torched, dozens of Christian homes burned and two Copts killed, according to rights groups.
‘Delga and Kerdassah are among the most negative consequences of the Brotherhood regime,’ Abdel Latif said.
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