Egypt says 6 militants, 2 soldiers killed in Sinai


Cairo — Six militants and two Egyptian soldiers were killed last week during a sweeping operation against the Daesh (the so-called IS) group in the Sinai Peninsula, the army said on Sunday.

The army launched the campaign on Feb.y 9 after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who this week won a second term, gave it a three-month deadline to crush IS in the Sinai.

Army spokesman Tamer Rifai in a statement said the six militants were killed in an exchange of fire in the north of the Sinai, as the army launched a raid against a "very dangerous terrorist cell".

An officer and a soldier were also killed last week and two other troops wounded, he said.

During the same period the army arrested more than 500 "wanted criminals" and prevented 169 people of various nationalities from infiltrating across the western border with Libya, the military said.

Since the campaign was launched, more than 100 militants and at least 22 soldiers have been killed, according to official figures.

Sisi won a second term with 96.9 percent of valid votes during this week's presidential election, in which he faced only one candidate, state media reported on Friday.

The National Election Authority is scheduled to announce the full official result on Monday.

In November Sisi, a former army chief, issued an ultimatum to the army to crush the militants after suspected IS gunmen massacred more than 300 worshipers at a Sinai mosque.

Security forces have sought to quell attacks by an Egyptian militant group that later declared allegiance to IS.

The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.

The militants have also killed scores of Christians in church bombings and shootings. — AFP