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Egypt Troops Surround Kerdasah After Gun Battle
Egyptian troops backed by helicopters have encircled an Islamist stronghold after exchanging gunfire with suspected militants who killed a senior police officer.
General Nabil Farag was shot dead as troops stormed into the Kerdasah district to arrest people accused of torching a police station and killing 11 security officers in August, according to state TV.
State news agency MENA said Gen Farag, an aide to the police chief of Giza city, was killed on the outskirts of the town by "terrorists and criminal elements".
Security sources said dozens of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades had been seized and 41 arrests were made as police hunted 140 wanted people.
Interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said: "The security forces will not retreat until (Kerdasah) is cleansed of all terrorist and criminal nests."
Footage broadcast by the privately-owned Mihwar TV channel showed armoured personnel carriers, police and soldiers in the streets.
Security forces reportedly imposed a curfew of the area, which police had effectively been barred from entering for almost two months following violence over the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.
Cairo authorities also briefly shut several lines on the metro system after two unexploded bombs were found on the tracks 100m from Helmeyet el Zaytoun station in the northeast of the city.
The Interior Ministry later said the bombs were "fake", AFP reported.
Mr Morsi's exit was triggered by mass protests that led to counter-protests nationwide.
Violence between his supporters and security forces included large-scale attacks on police stations, individual security officers and churches.
At least 1,000 people have died in the violence with most deaths coming during the security forces' dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo on August 14.
About 100 police officers also died in the clashes.
Nearly 2,000 Islamist activists and politicians have been arrested since Mr Morsi was forced from office.
Kerdasah, known for producing and selling fancy fabrics is 14km from Cairo and known to be an Islamist stronghold.
Residents of the area said on Wednesday they were not in control but do not want police there.
"We don't trust them as we know they will come to arrest people we know and respect whom they blame on the violence that we know was done by outsiders, not by our respectable sheikhs," Ahmed Aly said.
Egyptian security forces had last Monday stormed the town of Delga in Minya province, about 300km south of Cairo, clearing barricades set up by Mr Morsi's supporters there who were almost in control of the town.
Some 56 residents were arrested.