Egypt's army spokesperson says 173 militants killed in February

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Mar 2015

In response to one of the deadliest attacks against the Egyptian army, a unified military command was created in North Sinai to oversee anti-terrorism operations

Egypt's Military Spokesperson Mohamed Samir announced on Sunday that the Egyptian army has killed 173 militants, some of whom were linked to the "Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis" group, in North Sinai during the month of February.

The statement revealed that the Egyptian army has been fighting militants in Sinai's Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah cities.

Amid raids carried out by the Egyptian military, many explosives-loaded pick-up vehicles that were set to target checkpoints were destroyed.

Samir has also said that the military in different operations destroyed dozens of hideouts in the three cities in North Sinai.

In November, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, Egypt's deadliest militant group operating in Sinai, swore allegiance to the jihadist group Islamic State, which has seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq since summer 2014.

The group claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks against security forces in North Sinai and other governorates.

Although the deadliest attacks have been centred in the country's restive Sinai, dozens of smaller bombs have been planted nationwide, sometimes in civilian areas.

In January, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree to create a unified military command for the east of the Suez Canal to combat terrorism, two days after a series of militant attacks killed at least 30 people in North Sinai.

The new unified command structure is led by General Osama Roshdy Askar. It brings together the Second Army and Third Army to oversee counter-terrorism activities.

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