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36 militants killed in air raids in Egypt's Sinai

IANS  |  Cairo 

At least 36 militants were killed and tens of others injured in overnight military air raids that lasted until Saturday morning in Egypt's North Sinai province, a security source said.

"The military airstrikes targeted hideouts of militants south of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah cities of North Sinai," Xinhua cited the source as saying. He added that the militants belong to Sinai-based, Al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) group.

The raids came a few hours ahead of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's visit to the restive province in military uniform, where he reassured that the situation in Sinai was now "stable".

On July 1, dozens of self-proclaimed Islamist militants launched massive attacks against several military checkpoints in North Sinai. A military spokesperson said in a statement that the confrontations left 100 militants and 17 army men killed.

In total, over 205 militants were killed in security raids in North Sinai since Wednesday's deadly attacks and clashes, according to the security source.

Sisi's administration has been facing mounting terrorist activities since the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the military in early July 2013 and the following crackdown on his loyalist that left over 1,000 of them killed and thousands more arrested.

On the other hand, hundreds of police and army personnel were killed in terrorist attacks carried out by extremists in North Sinai and other provinces nationwide after Morsi' s removal.

The ABM, which has changed its name to "Sinai State" and vowed loyalty to the regional Islamic State (IS) militant group, claimed responsibility for most of post-Morsi anti-government attacks.

On June 29, the country's top prosecutor was assassinated in Cairo, which was the first terrorist activity that managed to target a senior official.

In its annual report released in late May, Egypt's National Council for Human Rights said that the violence since Morsi's removal resulted in the death of 2,600 people, including 700 police and army men, 550 civilians and 1,250 of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters.

First Published: Sat, July 04 2015. 23:04 IST
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