Egyptian military kills 22 Sinai militants in twin operations

Published March 6th, 2016 - 01:30 GMT
Army forces targeted militant hideouts in the areas surrounding Arish, Rafah, and Sheikh Zuweid. (AFP/File)
Army forces targeted militant hideouts in the areas surrounding Arish, Rafah, and Sheikh Zuweid. (AFP/File)

Nearly two dozen militants have reportedly been killed when Egyptian army forces carried out two separate operations against their positions in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula.

Military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said AH-64 Apache combat helicopters targeted three hideouts south of the border town of Rafah, located 340 kilometers (211 miles) east of the capital, Cairo, on Saturday, leaving 17 members of the Velayat Sinai militant group dead, Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.

Separately, Egyptian military commando forces, better known as Sa’ka (Thunderbolt) Forces, raided a militant base south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid, situated 334 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of Cairo, engaging the extremists holed up inside the base. Five militants were killed in the fierce exchange of gunfire with Egyptian forces.

Egyptian security personnel and army forces also mounted a joint operation south of the city of el-Arish, situated 344 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of the capital, arresting 67 suspects, including five militants.

In another development on Sunday, at least two Egyptian police officers were killed and three others injured when a roadside bomb explosion struck their armored vehicle south of Sheikh Zuweid.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the act of violence yet. Security forces have launched an investigation into the attack.

Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, following a deadly attack that claimed the lives of 33 soldiers.

Over the past years, militants have been carrying out anti-government activities and deadly attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil caused in Egypt after democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013.

Velayat Sinai militants have carried out most of the attacks, mainly targeting the army and police.

In November 2014, the group pledged allegiance to Daesh, which is mainly wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material

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