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Egyptian Army clears mines planted by militants

Cairo, Dec 22 - The Egyptian Army Saturday started an operation to rid the mines planted by hardline Jihadist militants of two villages near Rafah city in North Sinai governorate, a security source said Saturday.

The army received information that militants belonging to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Al Qaeda-inspired group based in the Sinai peninsula, have planted mines and explosives around the two villages as a shield to fend off potential military strikes, Xinhua reported.

The military suspended the traffic around the villages in a measure to ensure the safety of the residents.

The army is preparing for massive military raids on the group's dens in North Sinai as part of the country's "war against terrorism", the source said.

On Friday, the group killed two soldiers and injured eight in clashes with the army.

Since Islamist-oriented President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army in early July, Egypt's security premises have been constantly targeted by militants in Sinai.

The Egyptian Army has launched large-scale security operations in coordination with police to uproot terrorist hideouts in Sinai' s Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid cities.(IANS)