More than 100 dead as militants, Egyptian army clash in North Sinai

ISMAILIA, Egypt/CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s army said yesterday more than 100 militants and 17 soldiers were killed after simultaneous assaults on military checkpoints in North Sinai, in the deadliest fighting in years in the restive province.

After a day of fighting, which involved F-16 jets and Apache helicopters, the army said it would not stop its operations until it had cleared the area of all “terrorist concentrations”.

By late Wednesday, an army spokesman said the situation in North Sinai was “100 percent under control”. Security sources and witnesses later said aerial bombardments on militant targets had resumed.

Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Province, had claimed responsibility, saying it attacked more than 15 security sites and carried out three suicide bombings.

The militants’ assault, a significant escalation in violence in the peninsula that lies between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal, was the second high-profile attack in Egypt this week. On Monday, a bomb killed the prosecutor-general in Cairo.

It raised questions about the government’s ability to contain an insurgency that has already killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

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