Egypt army kills 16 jihadists in Sinai

Major assault launched against IS in Egypt

16 militants killed in Sinai: Egypt army

The country's Armed Forces killed 16 militants and destroyed 66 militant hideouts on Sunday morning, an official statement by the army's official spokesperson read.

Egyptian ground troops, air forces and navy joined with border guards and the police for the operation, dubbed Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.

"The Salafi Call, like all the Egyptian people, stands behind its army in its war on terrorism, and prays to God to help it [the military] prevent [terrorists] from corrupting the land", the group said in a statement late on Saturday.

The army also said that 30 suspected terrorists were arrested.

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Islamist insurgents have been targeting security forces since 2013 when the army, then led by Sisi as army chief, ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood following mass protests against his rule.

Most of the terror attacks were carried out by the so-called Wilayat Sinai (Sinai state or province), a Sinai-based group affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) regional terrorist group.

It also discovered and destroyed an explosives-making laboratory and a communications centre, as well as six cannabis and opium fields, he said.

"The armed forces and the police assert their determination to uproot terrorism and to achieve peace and stability", said Colonel Tamer al-Rifai in the statement. They are blamed for a series of bomb, gun and suicide attacks that have killed hundreds in Egypt.

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Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi - who is seeking re-election next month - pledged in November to wipe out terrorist elements "within three months" after militants killed more than 300 people at a mosque in the village of Al Rawdah, in the troubled northern sector of the peninsula near Bir El Abd town.

The group generally targets Egyptian security forces in northern Sinai but also claimed an attack on a tourist site in southern Sinai in April of past year.

The Salafi Call, the parent organisation of Egypt's Salafist Nour Party, said terrorism in Egypt has become more unsafe than at any previous time and the threat is increasing.

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