February 12, 2018 / 5:41 AM / 10 days ago

Gunbattles, airstrikes in Sinai as Egyptian forces hit militants

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces killed 12 Islamist militants in gun battles and arrested 92 suspects, while airstrikes destroyed dozens of militant targets in Sinai, the army said in a statement carried on state television on Monday.

Based on army statements, around 28 militants have been killed since Friday in the latest offensive to crush insurgents blamed for a string of attacks. The latest statement said airstrikes had hit at least 60 militant targets.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is seeking re-election in March, ordered the armed forces in November to defeat militants within three months after an attack on a mosque killed more than 300 people, the deadliest such incident in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The insurgency poses the greatest challenge to the government in a country that is both the most populous in the Arab World and a main regional ally of the United States.

Sisi was elected for his first term in 2014 after the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following mass protests against his rule.

Reporting and writing by Nayera Abdallah; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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