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Egyptian forces kill 22 militants in Sinai Peninsula

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Egyptian army forces stand guard outside a polling station during the counting of ballots at the end of the first round of voting for Egypt's parliamentary election in Giza, Cairo, on October 19, 2015. ©AFP

Nearly two dozen Takfiri militants have reportedly been killed when Egyptian army forces carried out two separate operations against their positions in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula.

Military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said AH-64 Apache combat helicopters targeted three terrorist hideouts south of the border town of Rafah, located 340 kilometers (211 miles) east of the capital, Cairo, on Saturday, leaving 17 members of the Velayat Sinai militant group dead, Arabic-language Ma’an news agency reported.

Separately, Egyptian military commando forces, better known as Sa’ka (Thunderbolt) Forces, raided a militant base south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid, situated 334 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of Cairo, engaging the extremists holed up inside the base. Five Takfiri terrorists were killed in the fierce exchange of gunfire with Egyptian forces.

Egyptian security personnel and army forces also mounted a joint operation south of the city of el-Arish, situated 344 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of the capital, arresting 67 suspects, including five militants.

A member of the Egyptian security forces stands guard next to a damaged bus following a roadside bomb blast which wounded 20 Egyptian policemen on the outskirts of the northern Sinai's provincial capital of el-Arish on July 9, 2015. ©AFP

In another development on Sunday, at least two Egyptian police officers were killed and three others injured when a roadside bomb explosion struck their armored vehicle south of Sheikh Zuweid.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the act of violence yet. Security forces have launched an investigation into the attack.

Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, following a deadly terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 33 soldiers.

Over the past years, militants have been carrying out anti-government activities and deadly attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil caused in Egypt after democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013.

Velayat Sinai terrorists have carried out most of the attacks, mainly targeting the army and police.

In November 2014, the group pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is mainly wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.

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