The Egyptian Army today has announced that it has recently killed 89 “highly dangerous extremists” in the country’s North Sinai province during when the army suffered eight casualties.
Bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, North Sinai has for years been a hideout for militants loyal to the Islamic State regional terrorist group. An Egyptian Army statement confirmed that the military has also detected and destroyed 404 improvised explosive devices and four explosive belts.
Further, 73 machine guns were seized while 52 vehicles used by the extremist militants “in carrying out their terrorist operations” were destroyed, the Egyptian army said in a statement, without identifying the exact period of the recent raids, Xinhua news agency reported.
An army spokesperson, while briefing on the operation, used the term “takfiri” to refer to extremist Islamist militants and did not specify a timeframe for the operations but said the army had suffered eight casualties. “Eight soldiers were killed or wounded in the confrontations”, said the issued statement.
The Egyptian Army statement also attached pictures of some of the slain suspected militants, along with a trove of confiscated weapons. Egyptian forces have for years fought an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, led mainly by the local branch of the Islamic State group.
A Reuters report stated that the insurgents want to topple the Cairo government and have stepped up their campaign since 2013 when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed President Mohamed Mursi from the Muslim Brotherhood after mass protests against his rule. Sisi, who regards the Brotherhood as a threat to national security, has since overseen a harsh crackdown on Islamists.