[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 22:10 GMT
Police arrest drugs gang in Egypt
Egyptian police say they have arrested the head of a drugs gang and 20 others after a tense six-day siege in a Nile village which ended in a gun battle.

Another member of the armed group died of his injuries after the arrest operation in Nakhila, 400km (248 miles) south of the capital Cairo.

About 160 hostages were released during the operation, security sources said.

The operation involved about 6,000 members of the security forces backed by 200 armoured cars, police said.

Security forces stormed the village at dawn on Monday, managing to reach the centre by the afternoon.

They used rocket-propelled grenades and mortars to break the resistance in the village.

The Egyptian interior ministry named the gang leader as Izzat Mohamed Hanafi, a senior member of the Awlad al-Hanafi family.

Half a tonne of marijuana and 50kg (110lb) of opium were also recovered, police said.

Police initially surrounded the village on Wednesday as part of a crackdown on drug traffickers and other wanted criminals.

Nakhila has long been considered a haven for criminals, said the ministry.

One resident told French news agency AFP that there had been as many as 70 people killed in the fighting.

But police denied there had been any deaths apart from a single gang member.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific