Dozens of armed fighters killed in Egypt’s northern Sinai

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Dozens of armed fighters killed in Egypt’s northern Sinai
Egyptian policemen walk next to a border post, as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula [File: Amir Cohen/Reuters]
Egyptian policemen walk next to a border post, as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula [File: Amir Cohen/Reuters]

Egypt said at least seven troops, including an officer, were killed in clashes with armed fighters in recent operations in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula.

In a statement on Tuesday, the military said its forces had killed at least 59 suspected fighters and arrested 142 others.

Air raids destroyed 56 vehicles containing weapons and ammunition in the Western Desert, south and northeastern border areas, and seized 242 explosive devices as part of the operation.

An attempt by 2,189 individuals of different nationalities to illegally cross Egypt’s border was thwarted. Furthermore, the statement added, in cooperation with military engineers in North Sinai, six tunnel openings were discovered and destroyed.

The military statement gave no timeframe for the recent operations. It wasn’t possible to independently confirm the details as access to northern Sinai is heavily restricted.

Egypt has struggled to defeat a long-running armed campaign in Sinai, which serves as a base for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group’s affiliate.

It launched a nationwide operation against armed fighters and ISIL last February, after an attack on a mosque in late 2017 that killed more than 300 people.

According to figures released by the military, dozens of Egyptian soldiers and hundreds of fighters have been killed since the operation began.

The Sinai Peninsula has remained the epicentre of an ISIL offensive since mid-2013 when Mohamed Morsi – Egypt’s first freely elected president – was overthrown in a military coup.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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