13 militants killed in army chase and airstrikes in North Sinai
North sinai - REUTERS
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CAIRO: Thirteen alleged militants were killed and more were arrested early Wednesday, as the joint security campaign between the police and the army continues in the troubled Northern Sinai Peninsula.

Security sources in North Sinai, told Youm7 Wednesday that army planes launched airstrikes on militants in their hotbeds located in three areas in Southern Sheikh Zuwayed city. The source said that the military aircrafts targeted them with three missiles after information indicating their presence.

The airstrikes left eight killed and nine others injured.

In another incident, the army forces said they killed five “militants” and arrested 10 others who planted explosives to target forces securing an area in northern Arish city.

In the same security campaign, security forces also bombed two trucks carrying a huge amount of cigarettes’ packs prepared to be smuggled to Gaza strip from Rafah; the drivers of the two trucks escaped before the bombing, security sources told Youm7.

Security forces also foiled an attempted illegal border crossing by six Sudanese who wanted to enter Israel through Sinai desert, according to Youm7.

At its peak, the security campaign has intensified efforts to face extremism wave controlling parts in North Sinai and launching attacks against the police and the army.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM,) a Sinai-based militant group, has recently self-proclaimed itself as Wilayat Sinai (The State of Sinai.) The group’s attacks against the army escalated since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The last of these attacks was on Jan. 29 with at least 40 deaths from among soldiers and civilians.

The group pledged its allegiance to the militant Islamic State group in November 2014, and has also released videos of beheadings of captured Bedouins and Sinai residents, whom the group allegedly said collaborated with Israel and gave information about the group to the army.

Following an October attack in Arish that killed dozens of soldiers, the army escalated its moves in the peninsula by establishing a 1 km-wide buffer zone along the Rafah-Gaza borderlines in search for hidden smuggling tunnels.

In advance of the parliamentary elections, the second to be held since the January 25 Revolution, scheduled for March 2015, Sinai tribal elders and leaders have warned of holding the elections in troubled districts in North Sinai, including Rafah, Sheikh Zuwayed and El-Kaseema, Youm7 reported.

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