Egyptian army 'kills 16 militants' in Sinai operation

Egyptian army 'kills 16 militants' in Sinai operation

Egyptian army 'kills 16 militants' in Sinai operation

Apart from the Sinai, the Egyptian army has said "Operation Sinai 2018" would also cover parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert, where other militants have conducted attacks, some believed to be staged out of neighbouring Libya.

He said in a second statement the air force had targeted militant hideouts in north and central Sinai, while the navy tightened its maritime control to cut off supply lines.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi - who is seeking re-election next month - pledged in November to wipe out terrorist elements "within three months" after militants killed more than 300 people at a mosque in the village of Al Rawdah, in the troubled northern sector of the peninsula near Bir El Abd town.

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

Security forces also uncovered and destroyed six farms used to grow banned narcotics, the statement said.

A total of 16 militants were killed, it said, and four militants were captured.

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Egypt denied this, and Israel declined to comment. The Sinai borders Israel and the Gaza Strip and has always been a bastion for Islamic insurgent groups tied to al-Qaida.

And last September Sissi met Netanyahu for the first time in public, the encounter coming ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in NY.

At least 10 terrorists have been killed on Sunday during a police raid in Arish city of Egypt's North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, a security source and medics told Xinhua.

The operation comes less than two months before presidential elections in Egypt set for March 26, according to Reuters. They are blamed for a series of bomb, gun and suicide attacks that have killed hundreds in Egypt.

Islamist insurgents have been targeting security forces since 2013 when the army, then led by Sisi as army chief, ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood following mass protests against his rule. Last year, militants attacked a Sufi mosque in the region, killing 311 worshipers.

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