Egypt kills 16 fighters in Sinai military operation

Egypt kills 16 fighters in Sinai military operation

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CAIRO: The Egyptian army says it killed 16 fighters and imprisoned more than 30 others in a major military operation launched in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

Dozens of targets were destroyed in air attacks, including vehicles, weapons depots, and communication centres, military spokesman Colonel Tamer Rifai said on Sunday.

“The air force targeted and destroyed 66 targets used by terrorist elements to hide from air and artillery attacks,” Rifai said in a statement.

The army’s casualty numbers could not be independently verified.

Egypt launched a “comprehensive” security operation involving the country’s army, navy and air force, aimed at pushing armed groups out of the Sinai Peninsula, parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Delta on Friday.

Egypt has, for years, battled an armed anti-government campaign in the rugged and thinly populated Sinai Peninsula, which has gained pace since the military overthrew democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013.

In November 2017, at least 235 people were killed in a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Bir al-Abed, a town in North Sinai province.

Afterwards, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave a three-month deadline to restore order in the region, using “all brute force” necessary.

Egypt will go to the polls next month, in a vote with little opposition that Sisi looks poised to easily win.__Al Jazeera

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