Egypt army kills 16 jihadists in Sinai

Mohamed El-Shahed—AFP

Mohamed El-Shahed—AFP

The army also said that 30 suspected terrorists were arrested.

In remarks to "Ten new" talk show on TEN channel on Friday evening, Radi said that "Sinai 2018 is a result of a series of military efforts and investigations since 2013, and particularly after the Rawdah Mosque attack", which occurred on November 24, 2017 and claimed lives of more than 300 people in North Sinai.

Authorizing troops to use "all brute force" necessary to restore "security and stability" to the region within three months, suspicion for that attack fell on an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group in Sinai.

The Egyptian Ministry of Defense said on February 9 it launched a military operation of unprecedented size to "crush terrorism" in the Sinai and secure points of entry into the country.

A spokesman said they found a communication centre, an explosives laboratory and six drug farms. The Sinai borders Israel and the Gaza Strip and has always been a bastion for Islamic insurgent groups tied to al-Qaida.

Egypt is quietly carrying out the operation with cooperation from Israel.

And last September Sissi met Netanyahu for the first time in public, the encounter coming ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in NY.

The operation, which targets "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations", involves land, naval and air forces from the army and police, and covers north and central Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.

The New York Times says Israeli warplanes have carried out covert air strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval.

The group generally targets Egyptian security forces in northern Sinai but also claimed an attack on a tourist site in southern Sinai in April of a year ago.

In addition to its attacks on Christians, IS has adopted a threatening tone against Sufi Muslims, whom it considers to be heretics. The group has launched several violent attacks against army and police checkpoints in North Sinai cities. Locals said the mosque was popular among Sufis.

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