Authorities in Egypt arrest 70 suspects during in restive Sinai

The Egyptian military and security forces arrested 70 suspects during raids over the past two days in restive North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, a military spokesman said Thursday.

"The forces also killed an extremist during his attempt to plant an explosive device on one of the patrol roads and found and destroyed six other explosive devices prepared to target our forces during their movement," the spokesman, Tamer al-Refaay, said in the statement.

During the raids, two main smuggling tunnels, two hideouts of terrorist elements and three motorbikes were also destroyed, he said.

On Sunday, security forces killed 11 militants and arrested 34 others in a similar campaign in Central Sinai, the southern part of North Sinai province.

In mid-February, at least three Egyptian soldiers were killed in Central Sinai's Mount Halal area when their armored vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Three militants were killed and three others arrested in subsequent fighting.

Anti-government terror attacks in Egypt have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the mid-2013 military removal of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in response to mass protests against his one-year rule.

Later, security crackdown on Morsi's supporters killed about 1,000 of them. Thousands others were arrested and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group was designated as a "terrorist organization."

Most of the terrorist attacks nationwide, particularly those in Sinai, have been claimed by a Sinai-based outfit that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Security campaigns in Sinai have killed hundreds of militants and arrested a similar number of suspects over the past few years as part of the country's anti-terror war declared by former army chief and current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi following Morsi's ouster.

Egypt's military intelligence chief, Gen. Mohamed Farag al-Shahhat, said during a military-held symposium in earlier February that at least 500 extremely dangerous terrorists have been killed since a massive anti-terror campaign, known as "The Martyr's Right," started in September 2015.


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