Egypt army says 52 suspected militants killed in Sinai

The military launched a sweeping operation in February focused on the Sinai in eastern Egypt aimed at wiping out militants. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2018
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Egypt army says 52 suspected militants killed in Sinai

  • 53 “takfiris” or Sunni Muslim extremists were killed in two separate operations by Egyptian security forces

CAIRO: Egyptian security forces pressing a campaign against Islamist militants have killed 52 suspected militants in the Sinai Peninsula in operations in which three soldiers also died, the army said Monday.
The military launched a sweeping operation in February focused on the Sinai in eastern Egypt aimed at wiping out militants, including from the Daesh, who have been waging a bloody insurgency.
On Monday, the military said that 53 “takfiris” or Sunni Muslim extremists were killed in two separate operations by security forces in the restive peninsula.
Three members of the armed forces were also killed in these operations, it said in a statement, without stating when they took place.
The military has regularly reported operations in the Sinai since it launched the campaign.
According to official figures, a total of more than 350 suspected militants and at least 30 soldiers have been killed in the “Sinai 2018” campaign.
Security sources said last week that local Daesh leader Abu Hamza Al-Maqdisi had been killed in an air raid on the Sinai. The militant group confirmed his death.
Militants have killed hundreds of police officers and soldiers in the Sinai since the army ousted Egypt’s Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.


Latest Gaza flare-up: What does it mean for the blockaded strip?

This cease-fire, like others before it, is fragile and could easily be derailed. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2018
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Latest Gaza flare-up: What does it mean for the blockaded strip?

  • “Unfortunately aggression against the Palestinian people will continue.”
  • Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008

AFP JERUSALEM: A truce in Gaza has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battling to keep his government afloat after Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman walked out in protest.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, welcomed Lieberman’s resignation on Wednesday as a “victory” — but what will it mean for Gaza?

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008, interspersed with simmering hostilities and periodic spikes in violence.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel. The Jewish state, like the US and the EU, defines Hamas as a “terrorist” organization. For over a decade Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on the coastal strip.

An apparently botched Israeli army raid into the Gaza Strip triggered the worst escalation in violence since 2014 and brought the two sides to the brink of war.

On Tuesday, Hamas and Israel accepted an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire. Denouncing it as “capitulation,” Lieberman resigned from his post the next day, leaving the government with a majority of just one seat in Parliament.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad declared the cease-fire with military powerhouse Israel “a political victory.”

It came after Israel in October allowed Qatar to provide Gaza with fuel to help ease its chronic electricity crisis, under a UN-brokered deal.

In parallel, Egypt and the UN have been seeking to broker a long-term Gaza-Israel truce in exchange for Israel easing its embargo.

The events of the past week gave a boost to Hamas and its allies, said Gaza political analyst Mukhaimer Abu Saada. “But if there is a war that could change,” he said.

After the pounding Gaza took in 2014, most residents want above all to avoid a rerun. Indirect contacts between Israel and Hamas have eroded the status of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

A peace initiative by US President Donald Trump is expected to emerge in the next few months. The PA fears that it will drive the wedge even deeper between Gaza the West Bank, two territories long envisaged as part of a unified Palestinian state.

Jamal Al-Fadi, a professor of political science in Gaza, says such a divide suits Israel. “We can not have results against Israel except by unity,” he said.

This cease-fire, like others before it, is fragile and could easily be derailed.

With the Israeli political tensions unleashed by Lieberman’s departure, there will be fresh domestic pressure on Netanyahu to hit Hamas harder.

“The coming days will be difficult” for Gaza, Al-Fadi said.

“It was a right-wing government and the (next) elections will bring another right-wing government,” he said.

“Unfortunately aggression against the Palestinian people will continue.”