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Major assault launched against IS in Egypt

12 February 2018, 01:31 | Myrtle Vega

16 militants killed in Sinai: Egypt army

Major assault launched against IS in Egypt

Sixteen militants have been killed and 34 people arrested in a major security operation, Egypt's military said on Sunday, part of a campaign to crush Islamist insurgents blamed for a string of attacks.

The security sweep in Sinai, heart of a persistent Islamic State group insurgency, comes as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seeks reelection next month.

The operation launched on Friday involves troops from the Egyptian air force, navy and ground forces as well as the police and border guards.

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 armed forces call upon Egyptian people in all parts of the country to closely cooperate with law enforcement forces to confront terrorism, uproot it and immediately report any elements threatening the security and stability of the country", military spokesman Colonel Tamer al Rifai said in a televised address.

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It said many foreign countries have their eyes set on Sinai, claiming that terrorists carry out attacks in Sinai with "technological backing from intelligence [services] of countries hostile to Egypt".

Egypt denied this, and Israel declined to comment.

The ministry also said it had arrested 14 alleged militants in operations spanning five provinces the Nile Delta in the north and two provinces in Upper Egypt in the south, while the army had previously announced operations were to take place in the western desert.

IS started to scale up its attacks in Sinai from September 2017 onwards, as it started losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

Hundreds of police and army personnel were killed since then. Last year, militants attacked a Sufi mosque in the region, killing 311 worshipers.



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