September 11, 2015 / 8:29 PM / 4 years ago

Egypt says it has killed 98 militants in Sinai operation

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have killed 98 militants in Sinai during a recent military operation, the military said on Friday.

It was not possible to independently confirm the figure.

Egypt is battling an insurgency that gained pace after the army overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement in mid-2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The insurgency, mounted by Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, has killed hundreds of soldiers and police and has started to attack Western targets. In the latest fighting, four Egyptian soldiers were killed, the military said.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi describes Islamist militancy as an existential threat to Egypt, the most populous Arab state and a close U.S. ally.

Islamic State controls large parts of Iraq and Syria, has a presence in Libya and enjoys the support of militants in Egypt seeking to topple the Cairo government.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Andrew Roche

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