Egyptian army kills 64 militants

Cairo, Sep 13 (IANS) At least 64 militants were killed and 22 arrested on Saturday by Egyptian army in an operation against the Islamic State (IS) group in the Sinai Peninsula, MENA news agency reported.

Two army servicemen, including an officer, were killed in the offensive, while one soldier was injured, the report said.

The army launched the operation dubbed “the martyr’s rights” on Monday around the Sinai towns of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and El-Arish, Xinhua news agency reported.

The toll of the militants has reached 296 since Monday.

During the operation, 42 explosive devices were defused, a booby-trapped car and 45 hotbeds were destroyed, according to the report.

Egypt has been battling a surge of anti-security attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, in response to mass protests against his one-year rule.

Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in attacks, many of which were claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which has changed its name to “Sinai State” and declared allegiance to the IS last year.

“The martyr’ rights” operation came days after the Sinai State released a video documenting its attacks on the military in Sinai, including footage of a wire-guided missile strike that destroyed a navy vessel.

Continuous massive military operations in the peninsula have killed hundreds of militants as part of the country’s “war against terrorism,” the army said.

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