Egypt: Over 50 suspected militants killed in Sinai

The defense ministry Sunday said over 50 suspected militants were killed in the past days in ongoing operation across the restive Sinai Peninsula where authorities are pushing to flash out the Islamic State group (ISIS).

The Egyptian army and forces under interior ministry have been conducting since February a major offensive in the Sinai to numb armed groups and the ISIS which have been blooding attacks against regular forces since 2013.

A statement by the defense ministry indicated that 13 “extremely dangerous takfiris” were killed in an operation by security forces in the city of al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, Reuters reports.

Takfiris is a term used by authorities to refer to Islamist militants.

The defense department also said 39 other Islamist militants were killed across northern and central Sinai in various operations.

The death toll on the side of militants since the beginning of the operation has exceeded 300 according to state figures. The army and security forces have so far incurred over 30 losses of lives in within their ranks. The figures are difficult to verify as authorities have barred access to the battled fields to private and foreign media.

During the recent operations, state forces also destroyed 15 vehicles laden with weapons and ammunitions while trying to infiltrate the western border, and 17 more in the southern military region.

ISIS and militant groups rose up against the army and security in 2013 following removal of the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi by current President  Abdelfattah al-Sisi who was then Defense Minister.

Al-Sisi has pledged to crush the insurgency and gave his forces a blank check for the operations after he allowed the army to use bruit force.

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