Egyptian security forces have killed 14 suspected Takfiri terrorists in an exchange of fire in the country’s restive Sinai Peninsula amid an ongoing military campaign against the Daesh terrorist group.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement Sunday that the militants had been under surveillance prior to the raid by security forces on their hideout in the town of el-Arish.
The ministry stated that an exchange of fire lasting several hours killed eight militants. The other six attempted to flee but were killed in a police chase.
According to the statement, the militants were suspected of planning attacks on "important and vital facilities," armed forces and police personnel.
The army launched the campaign on February 9 after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave it a three-month deadline to crush Daesh in Sinai.
Sisi has said setbacks by Daesh in Syria were driving its terrorists to try to relocate to Libya and Sinai. The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.
The Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, after a deadly terrorist attack left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.
Over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup in July 2013.
The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with Daesh, has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults. The group has expanded its attacks to target members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as well as foreigners visiting the country, prompting Cairo to widen its controversial crackdown, which critics say has mostly targeted dissidents.
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