Egyptian Army soldiers patrol in an armored vehicle backed by a helicopter gunship during a sweep through villages in Sheikh Zuweyid, North Sinai (Photo: Reuters)
The Egyptian armed forces killed 29 suspected militants in North Sinai this week, army spokesman Mohamed Samir has announced.
“Eleven suspects were killed in Al-Arish, while 18 were killed in Sheikh Zuweid,” the statement read.
Samir also revealed that the army arrested many suspected militants in the above mentioned cities and 18 others in North Sinai’s Rafah city.
Samir has been posting weekly briefings on the army’s long-running battle with militants who have intensified their presence in North Sinai since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Eleven civilians were killed in Sheikh Zuweid late Wednesday when an unidentified rocket-propelled grenade hit their homes. It was also reported that a roadside bomb killed two officers in the same city.
In recent months, militants have increasingly attacked economic targets in urban areas across Egypt, such as electricity pylons and mobile-network stores.
Meanwhile, the army is creating a buffer zone on the Rafah-Gaza border which has forced thousands of locals to relocate to other cities in Sinai.
The army has repeatedly announced killing or arresting hundreds of suspected "terrorists" and destroying smuggling tunnels linking Rafah and the Gaza Strip.
Media reports have surfaced claiming civilians are often caught in the violence between militants and the army. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has previously said security forces are dedicated to protecting civilian lives in the area.