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Egypt: 7 troops killed in anti-militant operation

Egypt has struggled to contain militant activity since 2013 [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 February, 2018

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Egypt's army has announced that seven soldiers have been killed in its recently-launched operation against militants.

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

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

Al-Rifai added that 71 militants have 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 operation covers north and central Sinai and parts of Egypt's Nile Delta and the Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya.

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.

Egypt has for years been struggling to contain the insurgency concentrated in north Sinai, spearheaded by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group. Militant attacks have generally surged since the 2013 military ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi following mass protests against his divisive one-year rule. The violence has also spread to the mainland.

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