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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Egyptian Army kills 36 extremists in Sinai Peninsula

The military said it also destroyed 400 hideouts, munition and weapons depots

Egyptian soldiers in Al Arish, northern Sinai, during an assault against militants on March 4, 2018. Egyptian Ministry of Defence / Reuters
Egyptian soldiers in Al Arish, northern Sinai, during an assault against militants on March 4, 2018. Egyptian Ministry of Defence / Reuters

Egypt's military said on Monday that soldiers and police have killed 36 extremists over five days as part of a sweeping operation against ISIL militants in the Sinai Peninsula.

The army launched the campaign on February 9 after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is standing in elections this month for his second term, gave it a three-month deadline to crush ISIL in Sinai.

Security forces "eliminated 30 armed takfiri elements during a shoot-out with raiding forces" in the northern and central Sinai Peninsula, the military said in a statement.

A police shoot-out also killed six "takfiri elements" and destroyed "an extremely dangerous terrorist cell", it added.

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

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Mr El Sisi issued his ultimatum in November after suspected ISIL gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers at a Sinai mosque associated with Sufi Muslims.

Since the military, then led by Mr El Sisi, ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, security forces have sought to quell attacks by an Egyptian extremist group that later declared allegiance to ISIL.

The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.

The extremists have also killed scores of Christians in church bombings and shootings.

ISIL claimed the 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner carrying tourists from the South Sinai resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, which killed all 224 people on board.

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