47 suspected militants, 5 troops killed in Egypt's Sinai

Egypt's army on Thursday said 47 militants and five of its troops were killed as part of its military offensive in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where it is fighting Daesh. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019
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47 suspected militants, 5 troops killed in Egypt's Sinai

  • As part of the wide-ranging operation to secure Egypt's borders, 158 "criminal elements" were arrested
  • The armed forces also neutralised 385 explosive devices that insurgents planted targeting security forces

CAIRO: Egypt's army on Thursday said 47 militants and five of its troops were killed as part of its military offensive in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where it is fighting Daesh.
The suspected militants had "guns of different makes, ammunition, explosive devices in northern and central Sinai" in their possession, according to a slickly produced video statement posted on the armed forces' social media accounts.
As part of the wide-ranging operation to secure Egypt's borders, 158 "criminal elements" were arrested.
The armed forces also neutralised 385 explosive devices that insurgents planted targeting security forces.
The army did not specify when the deaths and arrests took place, saying only that they happened as part of "recent efforts" against extremists.
The Sinai Peninsula, in the north-east of the country, is the epicentre of a hardened extremist insurgency spearheaded by Daesh.
In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing mainly on the North Sinai region.
Some 650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive, according to the armed forces.
No independent statistic are available to verify the deaths and the region is largely cut off to journalists.
Terror attacks have surged following the 2013 military ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, who was replaced by former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The Egyptian president has presented himself as a bulwark against terrorism and a rock of political stability amid a region in turmoil.


Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

Updated 51 min 16 sec ago
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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

  • ‘We are trying to help and to be mediators’
  • The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers

BAGHDAD: Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.
Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, made the offer Sunday during a joint news conference in Baghdad with visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“We are trying to help and to be mediators,” said Al-Hakim, adding that Baghdad “will work to reach a satisfactory solution” while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.
The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel.
Zarif, who was been on a whirlwind diplomatic offensive to preserve the rest of the accord, insisted that Iran “did not violate the nuclear deal” and urged European nations to exert efforts to preserve the deal following the US pullout.
Speaking about the rising tensions with the US, Zarif said Iran will be able to “face the war, whether it is economic or military through steadfastness and its forces.” He also urged for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Gulf.
The mediation offer by Al-Hakim, Iraq’s foreign minister, echoed one made Saturday by Mohamad Al-Halbousi, the Iraqi parliament speaker. Al-Hakim also expressed concern for Iran’s spiraling economy.
“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” Al-Hakim said.