47 suspected militants, 5 troops killed in Egypt's Sinai

Egypt's army on Thursday said 47 militants and five of its troops were killed as part of its military offensive in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where it is fighting Daesh. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019
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47 suspected militants, 5 troops killed in Egypt's Sinai

  • As part of the wide-ranging operation to secure Egypt's borders, 158 "criminal elements" were arrested
  • The armed forces also neutralised 385 explosive devices that insurgents planted targeting security forces

CAIRO: Egypt's army on Thursday said 47 militants and five of its troops were killed as part of its military offensive in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where it is fighting Daesh.
The suspected militants had "guns of different makes, ammunition, explosive devices in northern and central Sinai" in their possession, according to a slickly produced video statement posted on the armed forces' social media accounts.
As part of the wide-ranging operation to secure Egypt's borders, 158 "criminal elements" were arrested.
The armed forces also neutralised 385 explosive devices that insurgents planted targeting security forces.
The army did not specify when the deaths and arrests took place, saying only that they happened as part of "recent efforts" against extremists.
The Sinai Peninsula, in the north-east of the country, is the epicentre of a hardened extremist insurgency spearheaded by Daesh.
In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing mainly on the North Sinai region.
Some 650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive, according to the armed forces.
No independent statistic are available to verify the deaths and the region is largely cut off to journalists.
Terror attacks have surged following the 2013 military ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, who was replaced by former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The Egyptian president has presented himself as a bulwark against terrorism and a rock of political stability amid a region in turmoil.


Israel eases Gaza fishing restrictions after truce

Updated 16 min 20 sec ago
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Israel eases Gaza fishing restrictions after truce

  • Israel extended the fishing limit to up to 15 nautical miles
  • The move restores the fishing zone to the limits set in April ahead of Israel’s general election

GAZA CITY: Israel announced Tuesday it had eased fishing restrictions off the blockaded Gaza Strip after a cease-fire with Hamas ended a deadly escalation earlier this month.
Israel extended the fishing limit to up to 15 nautical miles, said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
The move restores the fishing zone to the limits set in April ahead of Israel’s general election.
Gaza fishing union official, Zakaria Bakr, however told AFP on Tuesday morning it had yet to be informed of any changes.
COGAT did not provide further details, but in April the limit was set at six nautical miles in the north near the Israeli border, 12 off central Gaza and 15 in the south near the Egyptian border, according to the fishing union.
Israel banned fishing completely when the two-day flare-up of violence began earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following the truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit is 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 did not say the move was linked to the truce reached earlier this month with Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip.
But Palestinian officials said at the time of the May 6 cease-fire that it included Israel taking steps to ease its blockade.
Israel media reported late Monday that the cease-fire, brokered by Egyptian and UN officials, is a six-month deal that includes the expansion of the fishing zone as well as the transfer of medicines and other aid to Gaza.
Negotiations are to also take place on issues including Gaza’s severe electricity shortage and border crossings, the reports said.
In return, Hamas would calm protests along the border and halt maritime demonstrations aimed at breaking the blockade.
Hamas denied the reports and Israel did not immediately comment.