He said the army will "clean" areas around the towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweyid on the border with the Gaza Strip and two nearby villages, al-Qurea and al-Dhahir, where Islamic terrorists operate. He spoke on condition of anonymity according to rules.
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A witness said the column of tanks, trucks carrying infantry, rocket launchers and other military vehicles on the road Saturday appears to be one of the largest units deployed to the area in recent years. He spoke anonymously for fear of being involved.
The troop movement follows a failed Thursday car bomb attack on the interior minister's convoy in Cairo that killed one person.
Egyptian media outlets reported Saturday that the army bombed several jihadist strongholds in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
The website of the Al-Ahram newspaper said the shelling resulted in casualties, but it did not say how many people were killed or wounded.
Also on Saturday, an Egyptian security official said bomb disposal experts defused three mortar rounds placed on railway tracks near the Suez Canal.
Meanwhile, Egypt's prosecutor general charged Mohamed Morsi with "assaulting" the judiciary for accusing 22 judges of forging election results in 2005. The new charges add to the list of accusations filed against the ousted Islamist president. Morsi has been held incommunicado since his July 3 overthrow.
The mortar rounds were found tied to railway tracks linking the Suez Canal cities of Suez and Ismailiya, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. On Friday, two other explosive devices were defused near Cairo.
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