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Egypt military operation kills 16 militants in Sinai Peninsula

11 February 2018, 01:04 | Taylor George

Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal

Ali Abdel aal

Egypt's air force pounded militant targets in northern and central Sinai early on Saturday, the military said, the second day of an assault to try and crush an insurgency that has killed hundreds of people since 2013.

The army destroyed 66 jihadist hideouts, 11 pickup vehicles and 31 motorbikes, he said in a statement.

He gave the order in November after a gun and bomb attack on a mosque killed more than 300 people.

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. He authorized chief of staff Mohamed Hegazy to use " brute force".

A chemical laboratory, used by the militants to made their explosives, was raided by the Forces in Sinai, he said, adding 20 feddans of marijuana were burned.

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Last week the New York Times reported that unmarked Israeli aircraft were carrying out covert strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval.

"It is a knockout against the militant group of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the (banned) Muslim Brotherhood and other sleeping agents", Moussa stated.

"Elements of our air force targeted some of the outposts, weapons and ammunition stores used by terrorist elements as a base to target law enforcement forces and civilian targets in north and central Sinai", al-Refaei stated.

In a Facebook posting on his account, Sisi wrote: "I follow with pride the heroic actions of my sons in the armed forces and police to clear Egypt's territory of terrorist elements".

IS started to scale up its attacks in Sinai from September 2017 onwards, as it started losing territory in Iraq and Syria. A total of 16 militants were killed, it said. IS has beheaded a number of Sufi men whom it accused of "sorcery". No group has yet claimed responsibility for the mosque attack though.



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