Egypt: Seven troops killed in Sinai anti-militant operation

Egypt: Seven troops killed in Sinai anti-militant operation
More than 70 'militants' have been killed during this month's operations, though journalists are barred from the area and cannot verify Cairo's numbers.
2 min read
26 February, 2018
The Egyptian security apparatus is fighting ongoing battles against insurgents in Sinai and beyond [AFP]

Egypt's military says seven troops have been killed so far in a massive security operation launched this month against Islamist militants in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula and other areas.

The military's spokesman, Tamer al-Rifai, said on Thursday that six soldiers had been wounded during the operation, which began on February 9.

Al-Rifai added that 71 militants had been killed and five arrested. Troops also arrested 1,852 others, including "criminal elements" and people suspected of supporting militants, many of whom have since been released.

The military's figures cannot be independently confirmed as journalists are barred from the area.

The massive security campaign that began this month covers north and central Sinai and parts of Egypt's Nile Delta and the Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya - which authorities contend that militants and smugglers use as their route into the country. The operation involves land, sea and air forces.

The operation comes ahead of presidential elections slated for next month, in which President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi is expected to win a second term after all meaningful opposition candidates were detained, arrested or otherwise dissuaded from standing for election.

Egypt has for years been struggling to contain an insurgency concentrated in north Sinai, spearheaded by a militant group which subsequenty pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.