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Egypt's military besieges village in Sinai to release kidnapped soldiers


08:53, May 22, 2013

CAIRO, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's military started Tuesday to besiege a village in North Sinai prior to an operation to release seven soldiers recently abducted by extremists, a security source told Xinhua.

"About 15 armored and military vehicles besieged Saladin village in North Sinai, near Sheikh Zuweid city, under cover of three military helicopters," the source said.

The forces believe the kidnapped soldiers are likely in the village after combing a number of deserted houses.

Inspection and combing campaigns in North Sinai has been going on over the past few hours in preparation for an operation to release the seven soldiers.

"Twenty rocket launchers have also arrived at Arish city prior to an expected operation," the source said, noting that the helicopters are currently monitoring the situation.

Further, eight wanted criminal suspects have been arrested on Tuesday during the inspection campaigns in North Sinai, official news agency MENA quoted a security source as saying.

The source told MENA that the security forces are still intensifying deployment in the area between Rafah, Arish and Sheikh Zuweid.

Heads of Sinai tribes welcomed the expected military operation to release the abducted recruits, according to a Xinhua correspondent in North Sinai.

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

President Mohamed Morsi reaffirmed that there would be "no dialogue" with kidnappers to free the recruits, while the latter's family members appealed on the president and all concerned officials not to launch an attack that might risk the lives of their abducted relatives.

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