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.


Lebanese expats in the Middle East cast early ballots for parliamentary elections

Updated 33 min 22 sec ago
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Lebanese expats in the Middle East cast early ballots for parliamentary elections

BEIRUT: Lebanese expats are casting ballots in six Arab countries in the region, ahead of parliamentary elections due in Lebanon on May 6.
The voting abroad marks the first time that expats are allowed to participate in parliamentary elections.
The voting on Friday is being held in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt.
It will be followed by voting Sunday for Lebanese residing in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Africa.
Lebanon’s state-run news agency says the number of registered voters is 82,970.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted that he was “very proud” to witness the first expat voting in the history of the Lebanese republic.
Lebanon is to hold its first parliamentary elections in nine years next month after parliament postponed elections several times over security reasons.