Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sixteen militants killed in Sinai operation, Egyptian army says

Sixteen militants killed in Sinai operation, Egyptian army says

Egypt's Salafi Call, a group of ultra-orthodox Salafi Muslims, said it is backing Egypt's army it its battle against terrorism, two days after a major counterterrorism operation focused on Sinai was launched.

Army spokesman Tamer Al Rifai said the extremists had been killed and detained during a "sweep and northern and central Sinai".

In this footage, the spokesperson for the Egyptian Army announced a comprehensive confrontation with criminal terrorist organizations in the Sinai and an operation by the coast guard and border forces to secure ports of entry to Egypt.

A video recording posted on social media, purportedly from a group affiliated to Islamic State, appeared to showed masked militants executing soldiers and civilians they accused of collaborating with security forces.

After a gun and a bomb attack on a mosque in November took the lives of more than 300 people, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ordered the military to defeat Islamists in the region by the end of this month.

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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.

Military warplanes struck "terrorist concentrations and hideouts" in northern and central Sinai through the night and into the early hours, targeting weapons warehouses and logistics support areas, he said last Saturday. The Sinai borders Israel and the Gaza Strip and has always been a bastion for Islamic insurgent groups tied to al-Qaida. Egypt has denied the report and the Israelis aren't commenting. No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

In November previous year, militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshippers as they fled, killing at least 305 people and wounding at least 128 others.

Egyptian security forces have so far killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the country's anti-terror war declared by Sisi, the army chief then, following Morsi's ouster in 2013. Locals said the mosque was popular among Sufis.

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