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Egyptian forces kill 15 militants in North Sinai raid

The file photo shows an Egyptian soldier looking on, at a checkpoint in North Sinai’s provincial capital of el-Arish. (By Reuters)

Security forces in Egypt have killed 15 militants in a raid in the country’s restive region of Sinai Peninsula.

A militant group was “planning hostile acts targeting military and police forces... in order to destabilize national security,” the Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Security forces exchanged fire with the militants as they stormed their hideout in a farm located in North Sinai’s provincial capital of el-Arish.

Authorities said they found a small trove of stashed weapons, including an explosive belt, several rifles, and another unspecified explosive device.

The ministry did not mention when the raid took place. The announcement followed recent “counter-terrorism” operations in Sinai during which authorities said 118 suspected militants were killed.

​The file photo, taken on July 27, 2018, shows Egyptian policemen on a road leading to North Sinai’s provincial capital of el-Arish. (By AFP)

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, militants 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.

A militant group affiliated with the Takfiri Daesh terrorists has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults.

Last year, the Egyptian army launched a full-scale counter-terrorism campaign on an order by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after a terror attack in North Sinai claimed the lives of more than 300 people at a mosque.

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