450 militants killed in Egypt Sinai offensive: army

A military vehicle drives through northern Sinai. (Reuters)
Updated 16 October 2018
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450 militants killed in Egypt Sinai offensive: army

  • The military launched a large-scale operation dubbed “Sinai 2018” in February to rid Sinai of Daesh militants
  • Since the start of the campaign, 450 militants were presumed to have been killed “in the north and the center of Sinai"

CAIRO: The Egyptian army said Tuesday that 450 jihadists are estimated to have been killed in its eight-month offensive against the Daesh group in the Sinai Peninsula.
The military launched a large-scale operation dubbed “Sinai 2018” in February to rid Sinai of Daesh militants after an attack on a mosque in the north of the peninsula that killed more than 300 people.
Since the start of the campaign, 450 militants were presumed to have been killed “in the north and the center of Sinai by (soldiers) and police,” army spokesman Tamer Al-Rifai told AFP.
According to army figures, around 30 soldiers have been killed during the operation.
Militants began an insurgency in Egypt after the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi, who was forced out by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule and that of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The army on Tuesday rejected criticism from rights groups over the impact on civilians of its campaign in Sinai.
It says that people in the peninsula support its operation and receive humanitarian aid.
“All air strikes are carried out by the army outside residential areas,” Rifai said on Tuesday.
Journalists are barred from going to areas targeted in the Sinai 2018 campaign, although the army organized a rare visit to the North Sinai capital El-Arish in July.
A countrywide state of emergency was imposed in April last year, following two suicide bombings at churches which were claimed by Daesh.
On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi extended the measure by a further three months.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 23 May 2019
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.