Egyptian army kills 88 militants

Egyptian army kills 88 militants

Eighty eight militants have been killed by Egyptian army in the volatile North Sinai region, as the country stepped up its campaign against Islamic State-linked terrorists following the Italian consulate bombing on July 11.

Army spokesperson Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said the militants were killed between July 20 and 31 in the restive Sinai peninsula.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed the July 11 bombing of the Italian consulate. It was the first attack on a foreign mission in Egypt since jihadists launched a campaign against the country's security forces two years ago.

A civilian was killed and nine others were wounded in the attack.

During the army raids, Samir said two wanted criminals and 56 suspected militants were arrested. About 40 vehicles and 36 unlicensed motorcycle used by militants for attacks against security forces were destroyed, the spokesperson said.

Nine militant hideouts were also destroyed, Samir said in a statement.

The North Sinai region has witnessed many violent attacks by militants since the January 2011 revolution that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

The attacks targeting police and military increased after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military following massive protests against his rule.

Though human rights concerns in Egypt remain, the US has increased military aid to Egypt as it confronts the growing extremist threats, particularly on the Sinai peninsula.

The US recently delivered eight F-16 warplanes to Egypt, part of a military support package.

US military assistance to Egypt had been on hold until earlier this year due to the rights concern, but was resumed by the administration for national security reasons.

More than 600 security personnel have been reported killed in Egypt since Morsi was ousted. 

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