Three soldiers have been killed after Egyptian troops and helicopter gunships attacked fighters in the Sinai Peninsula striking suspected hideouts for armed groups.
A source told Al Jazeera that the soldiers died on Friday in three separate incidents in the villages of Sheikh Zwaid, al-Mahdya and Abu Tawila in Egypt’s desert region adjoining Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Security forces detained two wanted men and seized a rocket, dynamite used to build bombs, and 200 books on Islamic fundamentalism, security officials told the Reuters agency.
Attacks by armed groups have increased in Sinai and elsewhere in Egypt since the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3 following mass protests against his rule.
Rocket and grenade attacks on soldiers and policemen take place in the Sinai nearly every day and about 50 have been
killed since July, according to authorities.
Army storming houses
Former MP for Sinai Mohsen Mhasin told Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel that the army was storming houses and arresting people thought to be part of in the Anti-Coup Alliance, which has led protests against the country's military leadership since Morsi was toppled.
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He said there were daily raids taking place in North Sinai.
Authorities are also focused on the Muslim Brotherhood, which had held power for just over a year when Morsi was ousted.
Thousands of anti-military protesters marched after Friday prayers in several areas of Cairo after authorities boosted security in sites where crowds had gathered in the past.
In Alexandria, one protester died from a gunshot wound and four others were wounded, medical and security sources said.
Demonstrations were also held in the cities of Fayoum, Assiut and Qena.
State television said clashes broke out between Brotherhood supporters and residents of the Nile Delta town of Mahala.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies