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Egyptian army ready to release kidnapped soldiers in Sinai: source


08:32, May 21, 2013

CAIRO, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian army sent more troops to Sinai Peninsula on Monday, getting ready for a possible military operation to release the seven kidnapped soldiers, a military source told Xinhua.

On Thursday, a group of militants abducted seven military recruits in North Sinai's Green Valley, some 20 km away from the governorate's capital of Arish.

"More soldiers ... entered Sinai today under a cover of three military airplanes. Armed vehicles were also deployed after coordination with the Israeli side in accordance with the Peace Accord," said the source who required anonymity.

"Our patience is running out, and a military operation to free the soldiers is ready, we are still waiting for the orders of the president," the source noted.

The border guards forces have managed to identify three places where the kidnappers had appeared in, the source said, adding that seven leaders of the kidnappers belonging to hardline Islamic Jihadist group were also identified.

Officials from the Interior Ministry, National Security, as well as leaders in North Sinai security headquarters are meeting for a plan to deploy forces, said the source.

The Egyptian presidency said earlier in the day that all options were open in dealing with the kidnappers of the Sinai soldiers and securing their release.

"All alternatives are being studied for one main goal, which is the release of the abducted soldiers alive," presidential spokesman Omar Amer told reporters at a press conference in the presidential palace in Cairo.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stressed Sunday that there would be no dialogue with the kidnappers and promised comprehensive economic and social development in Sinai as one of the means of combating growing extremism in the peninsula.

However, colleagues of the kidnapped soldiers and their families rejected any military or police operation that would risk the soldiers' lives.

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