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Militant group in Egypt's Sinai threatens workers building security wall around volatile town

A militant group based in Egypt's Sinai is threatening workers and contractors building a security wall around a volatile town in the northern part of the peninsula.

The al-Qaida-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Champions of Jerusalem, said in an Internet statement late Thursday that the barrier seeks to isolate the town of el-Arish as part of a "repressive siege" by the authorities.

The group has claimed responsibility for many attacks on Egyptian targets in Sinai and on the mainland, including in Cairo, and has also fired rockets at Israel.

Authorities in el-Arish earlier this month started work on the barrier, which will be equipped with surveillance cameras and electronic devices to prevent attacks.

Egypt has seen a surge in attacks since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July.