Egyptian forces kill 8 militants in Sinai

By Ahmed al-Sharqawi in Cairo


An Egyptian man stands in an armoured vehicle as residents gather outside a police station in North Sinai's provincial capital of al-Arish after it was targeted by a car bomb on April 12th, 2015. [Stringer/AFP]

Egypt’s security forces on Monday (January 8th) killed eight militants in a raid on their hideout in al-Arish, North Sinai, the interior ministry said.

"The terror elements who were killed were involved in a number of recent terrorist attacks," the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

They also were responsible for recruiting new elements in order to expand "terror operations in Sinai", it said.

Investigations by the security agencies revealed the extremists were hiding in an apartment in al-Risa, eastern el-Arish. They were killed in the ensuing shootout with security forces who raided the apartment.

Five machine guns, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and ammunition were found in their possession.

"Al-Risa is one of the areas [of North Sinai] where takfiri elements are very active," said security expert Maj. Gen. Farid Hajjaj.

The al-Risa security checkpoint has been attacked 37 times since the January 25th, 2011 revolution, the deadliest of which happened in August 2012 when 16 soldiers were killed, he told Al-Mashareq.

"Proponents of takfirist ideology have a strong presence in the area," he said, noting that militants take advantage of remote areas to use as hideouts.

Egyptian security forces have been battling an insurgency by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in Sinai, where the group has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks against the army and the tribes in recent years.

Security forces have arrested more than 200 ISIS elements in the al-Risa area of Sinai since 2015, Hajjaj said.

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