Egypt kills 36 terrorists, arrests 345 suspects

Above, smoke billows following an explosion in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt has been battling militants for years. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Egypt kills 36 terrorists, arrests 345 suspects

CAIRO: Egypt’s military said Monday that 36 militants, an officer and three soldiers were killed over five days during a sweeping operation against Daesh militants in the Sinai.
The army launched the campaign on Feb. 9 after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who is standing in elections this month for a second term, gave it a three-month deadline to crush Daesh in the Sinai.
Security forces “eliminated 30 armed takfiri elements during a shootout with raiding forces” in the northern and central Sinai Peninsula, the military said in a statement.
A police shootout also left six “takfiri elements” dead and destroyed “an extremely dangerous terrorist cell,” it added.
Over the past five days, soldiers also arrested 345 people “including a number of extremely dangerous takfiri elements and fugitives,” it said.
An officer and three soldiers were killed in the fighting, while three officers and five soldiers were injured, it said.
El-Sisi issued his ultimatum in November after suspected Daesh gunmen massacred more than 300 worshippers at a Sinai mosque associated with Sufi Muslim mystics.
Security forces have sought to quell attacks by an Egyptian hard-line group that later declared allegiance to Daesh since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, following mass protests against him.
The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.
The militants have also killed scores of Christians in church bombings and shootings.
Daesh claimed the 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner carrying tourists from the South Sinai resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, which killed all 224 people on board.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.