Six Dead in Clashes Between Suspected Militants and Police
ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) _ Two men suspected in the Cairo attack that claimed the lives of 18 Greek tourists died in a shootout with police in southern Egypt today, police said.
Four policemen also were killed in the clash today, including the head of police forces in the south, the government said. Fourteen police were wounded.
Police have poured into several southern provinces to search for Muslim insurgents who have claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack outside a Cairo hotel near the pyramids.
Police said the two gunmen killed today are believed to be among four men who carried out Cairo attack. Three fired on the tourists with submachine guns; the fourth drove the getaway van. Eighteen of the Greeks were killed.
Egypt’s largest Muslim militant group, the Islamic Group, said it had meant to target Israeli tourists to avenge Israel’s military campaign in southern Lebanon.
Today’s gunbattle lasted hours, erupting as police closed in on the suspects near Malawi, 135 miles south of Cairo and about 50 miles north of Assiut.
The four policemen killed included Maj. Gen. Gamal Fayeq, head of police forces in the south, and his brother, Lt. Col. Magdi Fayeq, the Interior Ministry said.
Twelve of the 14 policemen wounded were riding in two trucks ambushed by militants, police said. One truck overturned and the other truck collided with it.
Since 1992, Muslim militants have been waging a violent campaign, largely in southern Egypt, to overthrow the largely secular government and install strict Islamic rule. More than 930 people have been killed, most of them police or militants.
Also today, the government forbid Egypt’s media from reporting further on the investigation into the tourist attack, saying such information might aid those responsible.