Egypt Kills 18 Islamist Militants in Sinai Operation: Army

 In Land, Egypt and the Levant, Egypt, Terrorism, Air, Africa, Forces & Capabilities

Egypt‘s mil­i­tary said it killed 18 sus­pect­ed Islamist mil­i­tants in aerial and ground oper­a­tions in the restive North Sinai region on Tuesday, as part of its battle to quell a long-run­ning insur­gency.

The army said in a state­ment that its forces suc­ceed­ed in foil­ing “an attack by tak­firi ter­ror­ist ele­ments on one of the secu­ri­ty com­plex­es” in the town of Bir al-Abd.

Egyptian secu­ri­ty offi­cials use the term “tak­firi” to des­ig­nate extrem­ist Islamist mil­i­tants.

“In coop­er­a­tion with the air force, secu­ri­ty forces man­aged to chase the tak­firi ele­ments across a farm and in aban­doned houses killing 18, includ­ing one wear­ing an explo­sive belt,” the state­ment said.

Two mil­i­tary per­son­nel were killed and four others wound­ed in Tuesday’s oper­a­tions in Bir al-Abd. Troops also destroyed four cars includ­ing three that were packed with explo­sives.

The town, about 80 kilo­me­ters (50 miles) west of North Sinai’s cap­i­tal al-Arish, has been the site of sev­er­al terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State group includ­ing the dead­liest attack in modern Egyptian his­to­ry, in which more than 300 worshippers were gunned down in a mosque in 2017.

The late Tuesday state­ment came after videos sur­faced on social media pur­port­ed­ly show­ing plumes of smoke, gun­fire, and res­i­dents scream­ing for their lives.

AFP could not verify the authen­tic­i­ty of the short clips posted online.

Security forces have been bat­tling a hard­ened Islamist insur­gency in Egypt’s north­east Sinai Peninsula spear­head­ed by a local IS affil­i­ate.

In February 2018, author­i­ties launched a nation­wide oper­a­tion against Islamist mil­i­tants, focused on North Sinai.

Around 990 sus­pect­ed mil­i­tants have been killed in the region along with dozens of secu­ri­ty per­son­nel, accord­ing to offi­cial fig­ures.

The Defense Post source|articles

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