Dozens of militants slain in Sinai, claims Egypt

CAIRO —

Egyptian security forces have killed 59 militants in the Sinai peninsula recently and have lost seven of their own men, the military said in a statement on Tuesday.

The figures covered the «last period», the military said without specifying dates or locations of operations. It did not give the identity of suspects or their affiliation.

One «preemptive» police strike resulted in the death of 15 militants and 44 more were killed in other operations, the statement said. Hundreds of weapons, explosive devices and vehicles were seized or destroyed.

Egypt›s military says several hundred militants have been killed since it launched a major campaign in February, 2018 focused on defeating militants linked to Daesh (the so-called IS) in Sinai.

The statement said airstrikes destroyed 56 vehicles containing weapons and ammunition in the Western Desert, south and northeastern border areas.

Egypt launched a nationwide operation against militants last year. It has struggled to defeat a long-running insurgency in Sinai.

The operation in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday involved clashes with militants in desert areas outside the city of El-Arish.

The security forces also claimed that the extremists had intended to plant roadside bombs in areas between there and the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweyid. Other weapons caches including explosives were found in the more central Sinai Jabal Al-Halal mountain area. — Agencies