Jihadist attack kills 11 Egypt troops: army

Jihadist attack kills 11 Egypt troops: army

Jihadist attack kills 11 Egypt troops: army

Jihadist attack kills 11 Egypt troops: army

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The army claimed 11 Egyptian soldiers were killed on Saturday while attempting to foil a “terrorist” attack on the Suez Canal zone bordering the Sinai Peninsula, a hub of jihadist activity.

It was the army’s worst loss in years in its long-running operation against militants loyal to the Islamic State group in and around Sinai.

Five soldiers were also wounded in the firefight on the eastern, Sinai bank of the canal, the army said, adding that security forces “are continuing to chase the terrorists and surround them in an isolated area of the Sinai”.

“These terrorist operations will not defeat the determination of the country and the army to continue uprooting terrorism,” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged on Facebook.

Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been gripped by an armed insurgency for more than a decade, which peaked after the ouster of late Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

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In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

More than a thousand suspected militants and dozens of security personnel have been killed since the start of operations, according to official figures.

In November, Egypt agreed with Israel to boost its troop numbers around the border town of Rafah in order to quell IS militants.

The army reported in August that 13 militants were killed and nine of its soldiers were “killed or wounded” during clashes in Sinai, but did not specify when the fighting occurred.

Insurgent attacks on pipelines bringing Egyptian oil and gas to Israel and Jordan have been commonplace in recent years.

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