83 suspected militants killed in operations in Sinai: Egyptian military

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RAFAH, GAZA - NOVEMBER 01: An armoured vehicle of Egyptian army is seen as they blow up buildings as part of an operation aiming to create a buffer zone at the Rafah border in Egypt, on November 1, 2014. After a bombing attack that killed 30 people in the North Sinai region, Egyptian army launched an operation to prevent attacks at the Rafah border which is between Gaza strip and Egypt. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: An armoured vehicle of Egyptian army is seen during part of an operation aiming to create a buffer zone at the Rafah border in Egypt. After a bombing attack that killed 30 people in the North Sinai region, the Egyptian army launched an operation to prevent attacks at the Rafah border which is between Gaza strip and Egypt. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

83 suspected Islamist militants were killed by Egyptian security forces and another 61 others arrested in operations in central and North Sinai in just over a month, the country’s military said on Monday.

Additionally, one officer and two soldiers died or were wounded and more than 350 explosives were detonated in operations which began from September 28.

The military did not disclose the names of the militants or their affiliation.

Egypt’s military claims to have killed hundreds of militants since an offensive against Islamic State or related jihadist groups in the Sinai peninsula was launched in February last year.

Unrest in the Sinai Peninsula surged following the ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood by the military in 2013.

A number of countries in the region had expressed fears that northern Sinai could end up being a refuge for the Islamic State following defeats in Syria and Iraq.

Islamic State has targeted Egyptian security forces and civilians, particularly Coptic Christians, in a wave of attacks in the Sinai region.

Sinai Province, an Islamic State affiliate in Egypt, has since pledged its allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, the new leader named by the group, following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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