MIDDLE EAST

Egypt forces have killed 38 militants in major operation

Egyptian Army's Armoured Vehicles are seen on a highway to North Sinai during a launch of a major assault against militants. (Reuters)

Egypt's military said Tuesday it has killed 38 militants and arrested more than 500 militants and suspects days after launching a major operation against an ISIS group affiliate in Sinai.

The military said it had killed 10 "extremely dangerous" extremists, in addition to 28 militant fighters it had previously announced as having been killed.

A statement added that 400 "criminal elements and suspects" had been arrested, having previously announced the arrest of 126 people.

The dead militants had been "hiding inside a house in the vicinity of El-Arish city (North Sinai province's capital) following a shoot-out," spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said in the statement.

The operation has also destroyed several vehicles and warehouses, he said.

On Friday, the military announced the start of "Operation Sinai 2018" in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel, the central Nile Delta and the Western Desert near the border with Libya.

The security sweep comes as President Abdelfattah al-Sisi seeks re-election in March, after a first term in office that has seen him crack down on a terrorist insurgency.

Egypt's security forces have been increasingly targeted by militants since the army -- then headed by Sisi -- overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Militants linked to ISIS and based in North Sinai have waged a deadly insurgency against the country's security forces and coptic churches.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 13 February 2018 KSA 20:48 - GMT 17:48
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