Sixteen militants killed, 34 people arrested in major security operation: Egypt's military

Sixteen militants killed, 34 people arrested in major security operation: Egypt's military

Sixteen militants killed, 34 people arrested in major security operation: Egypt's military

Egypt says it has killed 16 Islamist militants in an operation in Sinai in the north-east of the country.

On November 29, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the military a three-month deadline to clear the Sinai Peninsula of militants, days after terrorists staged a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in northern Sinai that killed over 300 worshippers.

Authorizing troops to use "all brute force" necessary to restore "security and stability" to the region within three months, suspicion for that attack fell on an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group in Sinai.

The raid comes while the country is launching a massive counterterrorism anti-terror campaign named "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018" that started on Friday.

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

Last week the New York Times reported that unmarked Israeli aircraft were carrying out covert strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval.

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North Sinai has witnessed many terrorists attacks since the January 2011 revolution.

The ministry also said it had arrested 14 alleged militants in operations spanning five provinces the Nile Delta in the north and two provinces in Upper Egypt in the south, while the army had previously announced operations were to take place in the western desert.

The Salafi Call, the parent organisation of Egypt's Salafist Nour Party, said terrorism in Egypt has become more risky than at any previous time and the threat is increasing.

Army spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifaai said on Sunday that vehicles, weapons caches, communications centers and illegal opium fields were targeted in the sweep.

In addition to its attacks on Christians, IS has adopted a threatening tone against Sufi Muslims, whom it considers to be heretics. Since then, the armed forces waged the four-phase operation of "Martyr's Right", killing hundreds of terrorists.

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