46 militants killed in Egypt’s anti-Daesh campaign in Sinai

Egypt launched a major campaign in February 2018 aimed at vanquishing Daesh or related groups in Sinai. Above, security personnel during a troop maneuver on July 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2019
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46 militants killed in Egypt’s anti-Daesh campaign in Sinai

  • Egypt launched a major campaign in February 2018 aimed at vanquishing Daesh or related groups in Sinai
  • About 100 suspects had been arrested, more than 200 explosive devices found and over 30 cars and scooters confiscated or destroyed

CAIRO: Three soldiers and 46 “very dangerous” militants have been killed in clashes in the northern and central Sinai peninsula, Egyptian authorities said on Monday.

The military also said Egyptian forces had destroyed 15 hideouts and dismantled 204 explosive devices. Troops also found weapons caches, including explosives, in Sinai, the Western Desert and southern Egypt.

Several hundred militants have been killed since the Egyptian military launched a major campaign in February 2018 aimed at eliminating Daesh or related groups in Sinai, the army said.

The Sinai peninsula covers 60,000 square kilometers in northeast Egypt bordering the Gaza Strip and Israel, divided into two governorates. 

The north is at the center of a long-running insurgency led by a local affiliate of Daesh known as Sinai Province. The group, formerly called Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, had links with Al-Qaeda before pledging allegiance to Daesh in 2014.

Militants have stepped up attacks on security forces and also targeted civilians, mainly Egypt’s minority Coptic Christians, killing hundreds of people.

“Since 2016, terrorist attacks in Egypt have primarily been carried out by the Daesh affiliates,” said Allison McManus of the Washington-based Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

In response, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered security forces to use “all brute force” to restore stability to Sinai. A year ago Egypt mobilized land, sea and air forces in a nationwide offensive called Sinai 2018. 

The operations are focused on North Sinai but also cover parts of the Nile Delta region and the porous western border with Libya.

“Today, despite years of military campaigns of which Sinai 2018 is the most recent and most important, the terrorist threat remains in Egypt,” McManus said.


Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

Updated 20 min 46 sec ago
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Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

  • Security forces kept watch as participants sang, “The people want the detainees released” and “Long live Rif.”

RABAT: Thousands of demonstrators in Morocco are condemning prison sentences given to the leader of the Hirak Rif anti-poverty movement and dozens of other activists.
The demonstration brought one of the main avenues of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to a standstill on Sunday. Security forces kept watch as participants sang, “The people want the detainees released” and “Long live Rif.”
Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi was sentenced to the maximum prison term of 20 years for threatening state security. An appeals court upheld his sentence and those of other activists this month.
Rif is the struggling region in northern Morocco where the Hirak movement was born in 2016. The movement demands development and job creation for the region.
Families, human rights organizations and left-wing parties are demanding the imprisoned activists’ immediate release.