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EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) A military official says Egypt is deploying new troops backed by tanks and other armored vehicles to insurgent strongholds in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

He says 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 militants operate. He spoke on condition of anonymity according to rules.

A witness says 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.