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Gunmen Attack Egyptian Security Headquarters in North Sinai

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Unidentified militants renewed an attack on an Egyptian security headquarters in north Sinai, wounding seven conscripts, while gunmen opened fire on a vehicle belonging to the Multinational Force and Observers.

The attack on the security headquarters in the peninsula was the latest since Egypt launched a sweeping operation in the area to root out extremists after an August attack left 16 Egyptian border guards dead.

Assailants renewed their assault after earlier in the day attacking the security headquarters with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, Mohamed Saeed, the head of criminal investigations in the area, said by phone. The gunmen had taken up positions on rooftops near the headquarters in the first attack. The second assault raised the number of conscripts wounded to seven, including two who were in critical condition, he said.

Separately, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle belonging to the independent Multinational Force and Observers, in an attack that came two days after the force’s headquarters in the region came under attack. The MNF said in a statement yesterday that the Sept. 14 assault on its compound left eight of its personnel slightly wounded.

Authorities evacuated students from schools in Sheik Zuweid where the assault on the vehicle took place, Saeed said, adding the precautionary move came as the gunmen have adopted hit-and-run tactics.

August Attack

One of the men wanted in the August attack on the border guard outpost that left 16 dead was captured and referred to military prosecutors, said Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Mahgoub, the head of investigations in Cairo’s Darb el-Ahmar district.

Mahgoub said the man was arrested, along with three others, after they attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11. The embassy attack, in which hundreds demonstrated in front of the mission, climbed atop its walls and ripped down the U.S. flag, signaled the start of sweeping protests in several Arab nations over a film that ridiculed Islam’s prophet.

In all, Egyptian authorities have arrested at least 417 people in connection with five days of protests and clashes with police. Authorities yesterday cleared the remaining demonstrators from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, near the embassy.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at teltablawy@bloomberg.net; Ahmed Khalilelsayed in Cairo at akhalilelsay@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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