August 12, 2018 / 11:42 AM / 2 months ago

Egyptian forces kills 12 suspected militants in Sinai: agency

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have killed 12 suspected militants in raids on their hideouts in north Sinai, state news agency MENA reported on Sunday, the latest in a campaign to uproot armed Islamists behind a wave of violence in the area.

The deaths raised to at least 325 the number of suspected militants killed in the Sinai campaign which began in February, according to a Reuters count based on military statements. At least 35 military personnel have also been killed.

The state news agency said security forces came under fire when they raided a walled compound in al-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province, without giving a time frame for the incident.

It said the raiding forces responded in kind and 12 suspected militants were killed in the shootout. The authorities were trying to verify their identities.

Five rifles, four of them automatic guns, were recovered from the scene as well as some ammunition and two ready-to-use bombs, MENA said.

There were no reports of casualties among security forces.

Sisi was re-elected in March in a landslide victory against one opponent seen as a token candidate. His critics say his presidency has brought a harsh crackdown on dissent, but supporters argue the measures are needed to stabilize Egypt, which was rocked by years of unrest after protests toppled veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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