Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Egypt reports successes in Sinai operation against militants

Mohamed El-Shahed—AFP Mohamed El-Shahed—AFP
Andrew Cummings | 12 February, 2018, 01:30

The former general had ordered the military in November to defeat militants in northern Sinai within three months, after an attack on a mosque killed more than 300 people, the deadliest such incident in the Arab world's most populous country.

A total of 16 militants were killed, it added.

"The Salafi Call, like all the Egyptian people, stands behind its army in its war on terrorism, and prays to God to help it [the military] prevent [terrorists] from corrupting the land", the group said in a statement late on Saturday.

Egyptian ground troops, air forces and navy joined with border guards and the police for the operation, dubbed Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.

Security forces also uncovered and destroyed six farms used to grow banned narcotics, the statement said. Egypt has denied the report and the Israelis aren't commenting.

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Egypt's security forces have been increasingly targeted by jihadists since the army in 2013 overthrew Sisi's predecessor, Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

And last September Sissi met Netanyahu for the first time in public, the encounter coming ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in NY. No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

"Thus, they (the operations) are based on previous success against the terrorist groups in Sinai, so it has turned now to be carried out on large-scale", Radi said, noting that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is following up the operation.

Army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai said 16 jihadists had been killed and 34 detained during a "sweep and raids.in northern and central Sinai".

"Egypt has for decades suffered from a variety of terrorist attacks, but terrorism in recent years has taken a very unsafe turn", targeting all Egyptians, including the army and police, as well as churches, to provoke sedition between Muslims and Christians, and even mosques, the group said in its statement.

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