252 militants killed in Sinai over 10 days: Egypt army
The Egyptian army has killed scores of militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula within the past 10 days, a military spokesman said Sunday.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Brigadier-General Mohamed Samir said that army forces had killed 252 militants since 1 July.
According to Samir, 76 individuals suspected of engaging in militant activity had also been detained over the same period, 13 of whom had been wanted by the authorities.
The spokesman added that 58 vehicles and 43 motorbikes used by militants to carry out attacks had been destroyed during the same 10 day period.
Samir's claims were not independently verifiable.
Egyptian security forces have stepped up their campaign against suspected militants in the region since a series of fatal, coordinated attacks on army checkpoints in North Sinai on 1 July. There have been wide variations of the reported numbers of those killed in the attacks with some news agencies reporting as many as 70 killed.
Days later, Egyptian officials, who said 21 people died in the attacks, said they were introducing anti-terrorism legislation that could see journalists jailed for a minimum of two years for reporting information that contradicts official statements.
Since mid-2013, when Egypt’s military ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, northern Sinai has become the epicentre of a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security personnel.
For the last two years, Egyptian security forces have waged a fierce campaign against militants in the volatile peninsula, which shares borders with both Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Particularly in the past 10 days, as security forces and militants fighting has intensified, civilians have told MEE they are caught in the middle, with many fleeing the area.