16 militants killed as Egyptian military launches operation in Sinai

Katrina Barker
February 12, 2018

Sixteen militants were killed and 34 were arrested in a major crackdown in the Sinai Peninsula launched by Egypt on Friday, the army said on Sunday.

On the ground, special forces, working with police, conducted raids inside cities in Sinai to seize militants, military spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said. The sweep covered areas in north and central Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert on the border with Libya.

Twenty militants were arrested on Sunday by paramilitary Frontier Corps in an intelligence-based military operation in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

"The Salafi Call, like all the Egyptian people, stands behind its army in its war on terrorism, and prays to God to help it [the military] prevent [terrorists] from corrupting the land", the group said in a statement late on Saturday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ordered the military to defeat Islamists in the region by the end of this month.

Egypt's army has been struggling to uproot the strongholds of terrorists, now belonging to the Islamic State branch in Sinai, since the ouster of the Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi, in response to mass protests against his rule in 2013.

The air force also discovered and destroyed an explosives-making laboratory and a communications centre, as well as six cannabis and opium fields, he said.

The New York Times says Israeli warplanes have carried out covert air strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval.

North Sinai has witnessed many terrorists attacks since the January 2011 revolution.

"Egypt has for decades suffered from a variety of terrorist attacks, but terrorism in recent years has taken a very risky turn", targeting all Egyptians, including the army and police, as well as churches, to provoke sedition between Muslims and Christians, and even mosques, the group said in its statement.

The offensive comes ahead a March vote that will undoubtedly see Mr El Sisi win a second four-year term.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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