Egypt military says 36 militants, 4 soldiers killed in Sinai

Tuesday, 20 Mar, 2018

Egyptian security forces have killed 36 suspected militants over five days as part of a sweeping operation against the Islamic State (IS) group on the Sinai Peninsula, the military said in a statement on March 19.

Over the past five days, soldiers also arrested 345 people "including a number of extremely risky militants and fugitives", it said.

Egyptian forces are tightening the noose along the cost to prevent infiltration attempts as the navy conducts joint drills with the French navy with the participation of helicopter carriers, frigates, and missile boats.

An officer and three conscripts were killed while two officers, five conscripts and a non-commissioned officer were injured during the raids.

Military engineers also destroyed 93 explosive charges.

The statement also added that 17 vehicles and 67 unlicensed motorbikes were seized and destroyed.

Hundreds of police and army personnel were killed since then.

Egypt has been battling Islamic militants for years, but the insurgency gathered steam and grew deadlier after the 2013 ouster by the military of Mohammed Morsi an Islamist president whose one year in office proved divisive.

The military has launched security campaigns in the North Sinai area, in which some terrorists are based.

The Sinai operation comes amid preparations to hold Egypt's presidential election next week, in which incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi seeks re-election.