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Gunbattles, airstrikes in Sinai as Egyptian forces hit militants

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Egyptian security forces killed 12 Islamist militants in gun battles and arrested 92 suspects, while airstrikes destroyed dozens of militant targets in Sinai, the army said in a statement carried on state television on Monday.

Based on army statements, around 28 militants have been killed since Friday in the latest offensive to crush insurgents blamed for a string of attacks. The latest statement said airstrikes had hit at least 60 militant targets.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is seeking re-election in March, ordered the armed forces in November to defeat militants within three months after an attack on a mosque killed more than 300 people, the deadliest such incident in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The insurgency poses the greatest challenge to the government in a country that is both the most populous in the Arab World and a main regional ally of the United States.

Sisi was elected for his first term in 2014 after the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following mass protests against his rule.

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