70 suspected militants killed in Sinai over past week: Egypt army

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Mar 2015

Militants killed during army raids in Rafah, Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, army says

The Egyptian army has killed 70 suspected militants in the Sinai Peninsula over the past week, some of whom were linked to Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, a military spokesperson announced on Sunday.

Mohamed Samir also said that 118 suspects were arrested in raids during the last week, 23 of whom were already wanted by the authorities.

The raids were carried out in Rafah, Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid.

Samir also said the military operations destroyed dozens of militant hideouts.

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

During February 173 suspected militants were killed in the Peninsula, Samir added.

Earlier, Samir said that between November and January 206 suspected militants were killed in Sinai, including "dangerous elements.”

He also announced that in the same period 1,597 suspected terrorists were arrested.

In January, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree to create a unified military command for 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 and Third armies to oversee counter-terrorism activities in Sinai.

Although the deadliest attacks by Islamist militants have been centered in the country's restive Sinai, dozens of smaller bombs have been planted in recent weeks nationwide.

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