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Gunbattles, airstrikes in Sinai as Egyptian forces hit militants

Egyptian army helicopters during a major assault against militants. Airstrikes had hit at least 60 militant targets in the Sinai peninsula. (Ministry of Defense via Reuters)
CAIRO: Egyptian security forces killed 12 militants in gunbattles and arrested 92 suspects, while airstrikes destroyed dozens of militant targets in Sinai, the army said in a statement carried on state television on Monday.
Based on army statements, around 28 militants have been killed since Friday in the latest offensive to crush insurgents blamed for a string of attacks. The latest statement said airstrikes had hit at least 60 militant targets.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who is seeking re-election in March, ordered the armed forces in November to defeat militants within three months after an attack on a mosque killed more than 300 people, the deadliest such incident in the Arab world’s most populous country.
The insurgency poses the greatest challenge to the government in a country that is both the most populous in the Arab World and a main regional ally of the US.
Sisi was elected for his first term in 2014 after the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his rule.

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