Egypt military says it killed 16 jihadists in Sinai

Ali Abdel aal

Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal

Sixteen militants have been killed and 34 people arrested in a major security operation, Egypt's military said on Sunday, part of a campaign to crush Islamist insurgents blamed for a string of attacks.

Egypt's State Information Service (SIS) called on foreign reporters and representatives of foreign media outlets to abide by professional rules and only publish what is being released by the army in their coverage of the "Comprehensive Sinai 2018" military operation, launched on Friday.

A total of 16 militants were killed, it said, and four militants were captured.

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

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

Egypt denied this, and Israel declined to comment.

Sinai 2018" is a continuation of a series of the "Martyr's Right" military operation "which were conducted against terrorists in North Sinai since September 2014, Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi told the reporters on Sunday.

Last week the New York Times reported that unmarked Israeli aircraft were carrying out covert strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval. No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

The current military operation involves all branches of Egyptian armed land, naval and air forces, as well as the police and border guards.

Terrorists in Egypt did not stop at targeting security personnel and Copts, as they stormed a mosque in Arish city last November, killing at least 310 Muslim worshippers and injuring more than 120 others, marking the deadliest terror attack and the first against a mosque in Egypt's modern history. The mission, announced Friday, is meant to target "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations" across Egypt. Locals said the mosque was popular among Sufis.

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