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Egyptian army announces killing of 32 'criminals' in Sinai

Egypt's military forces have to date killed 32 suspected militants in Sinai during Operation Eagle, following the terrorist attack that took the lives of 16 Egyptian soliders

Ahram Online , Saturday 8 Sep 2012
Egyptian army in Sinai
n Egyptian army truck carries tanks and vehicles to Rafah city, some 350 km (217 miles) northeast of Cairo, August 10, 2012 .(Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's armed forces have announced that 32 "criminals" have been killed since the onset of Operation Eagle, launched following the terrorist attack 5 August near Rafah that killed 16 Egyptian soliders.

Some 31 tunnels between Egypt and Gaza have also been destroyed, said Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali, a military spokesman, during a press conference Saturday.

Military forces also arrested 38 people, 20 of which were released. It plans to continue the operation until its goals are achieved, Colonel Ali explained.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said 30 August that he expected the Egyptian army to withdraw its reinforcements from Sinai at the end of the operation, aimed to root out Islamist militants.

However, Ali insisted that "the deployment of the armed forces, on all the territory of Sinai, is not a violation of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel."

The Egyptian armed forces assured that they took into a number of important elements in designing the operation, among which the rights of Sinai's inhabitants, Ali explained.

Ali added that the armed forces had decided to ensure that full information is available to the media, by conducting more press conferences with a specially assigned spokesman.

Operation Eagle came in for criticism after being temporarily halted following last month's Eid holidays, with many units pulling back to locations in Beir Al-Abd, Baluza and Kharba. According to military sources, the tactical shift will include withdrawing heavier units.

In August, an Israeli newspaper said that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had sent a sharply-worded message to Cairo via Washington, calling for the immediate removal of Egyptian tanks deployed in northern Sinai.

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