- Egypt Extends State of Emergency as Soldiers, Militants Killed in Sinai
by Asharq Al-Awsat, https://aawsat.com/english
Eight Egyptian soldiers and 14 militants were killed in a confrontation in central Sinai on Saturday, the army said in a statement, as the country extended its nationwide state of emergency for another three months.
The military said earlier that 27 militants were killed over the last few days in a sweeping operation launched on February 9 in the Sinai to quash extremists based in the peninsula.
Six of the militants were killed by aerial bombardment on their hideouts while 12 died in a shootout with police forces, the military said in a statement. It did not say how the other nine were killed. Security forces also arrested 114 suspects and found and destroyed a training camp which included a shooting range, an obstacle course and an underground conference room, it said. Security forces have sought to quell attacks by an Egyptian extremist group that later declared allegiance to ISIS since 2013.
The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt. The militants have also killed scores of Christians in church bombings and shootings. Meanwhile, the official gazette said that Egypt is to extend its nationwide state of emergency for three months from April 14.
Egypt first imposed the current state of emergency in April 2017 after two church bombings killed at least 45 people. It was extended in July and again in October then January. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Saturday to extend a curfew already in place in a new declaration.
The latest extension was to allow security forces to “take (measures) necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country,” the official gazette said.