Egypt army kills 30 'militants' in Sinai
The Egyptian military has killed 30 'militants' and captured another 41 on the third day of its 'major operation' against an Islamic State group [IS] affiliate in north Sinai, according to the military spokesman's Facebook page.
Egypt launched Operation Haqq al-Shahid [Martyr’s Right] on Monday against IS-affiliate Wilayat Sina, killing 29 “militants” and leaving two soldiers dead.
“Three vehicles, 32 motorcycles used in terrorist attacks and 80 terrorist hideouts have also been destroyed,” the statement said.
It added that the military had defused 18 explosive devises planted on roadsides, destroyed a stockpile of 300kg of explosives and five tunnel openings along the border with the Gaza Strip.
The army says it has launched the operation to "eliminate terrorists" based in the north Sinai towns of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arish.
The army released official footage of Operation Haqq al-Shahid on its YouTube channel to go with Monday’s announcement.
Egypt has been struggling to quell a growing insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The government says hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed, many of them in attacks claimed by Wilayat Sina.
The army often reports large death tolls among the insurgents but they are impossible to verify and there has been little noticeable impact on the ability of IS to carry out deadly attacks on the security forces.
A source in the local Sinai tribes told al-Araby al-Jadeed’s Arabic service that F-16 fighter jets have targeted civilian homes, no civilian deaths or injuries have yet been reported.
"Some locals have decided to evacuate [the area] because the airstrikes and shelling", the source added, speaking under the condition of anonymity.
“This comes amid strong cooperation with Sinai’s honourable locals who have expressed their joy for this operation, which is a real breakthrough in the process of restoring security, stability and development to Sinai,” the army statement said.