The Egyptian army has killed 98 militants in Sinai during a recent military operation, authorities said Friday. Four Egyptian soldiers were also killed while seven others were injured.
The army launched operation "the martyr's rights" Monday morning around the north Sinai towns of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and El-Arish, Xinhua News reported, citing a military statement. During the fifth day of the operation, security forces reportedly defused 13 explosive devices, destroyed four vehicles and seven motorbikes used by the militants.
The insurgents were members of a local militant group called Velayat Sinai (Sinai Province), previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Press TV reported. Velayat Sinai, with allegiance to the Islamic State group, is known to have carried out several attacks that killed Egyptian police officers, soldiers, and judiciary officials as well as civilians in recent months.
Egypt has been struggling with insurgency, and militants have stepped up attacks after the army overthrew President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement in mid-2013. The Brotherhood has since been banned in Egypt. President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi had called Islamist militancy an existential threat to Egypt.
Islamic State currently controls large chunks of Iraq and Syria. It is present in Libya and has the support of militants in Egypt eyeing to oust the government in Cairo.