March 11, 2019 / 11:07 AM / 2 months ago

Dozens of militants killed in shootouts in Egypt's Sinai - military

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have killed 46 “very dangerous” Islamist militants in shootouts in northern Sinai, the military said on Monday.

The armed forces say several hundred militants have been killed since it launched a major campaign in February 2018 aimed at vanquishing Islamic State or related jihadist groups in Sinai.

“Over the last period” the campaign had resulted in “the elimination of 46 very dangerous members of terrorist elements during exchanges of fire in the north and central Sinai...,” the armed forces said in a video recording, without specifying dates or locations of the security operations.

About 100 suspects had been arrested, more than 200 explosive devices found and over 30 cars and scooters confiscated or destroyed, it said. The statement did not give the identity of suspects or their affiliation.

Human rights organizations have accused Egypt of carrying out extrajudicial executions and of trying civilians in military courts as part of the crackdown.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said that the matter of human rights should be treated in the context of regional turbulence and the struggle against terrorism. Strong security measures, he has said, are needed to stabilise Egypt after the turmoil that followed the country’s 2011 uprising.

Reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Lena Masri; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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