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Egypt forces kill 9 militants in restive Sinai
Last Updated: 2017-07-17 08:27 | Xinhua
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The Egyptian security forces killed on Sunday nine militants in restive central Sinai and destroyed a number of ammunition storehouses belonging to them.

"The forces managed to destroy a vehicle loaded with large amounts of explosives and kill six armed extremists at a mountainous area in central Sinai," military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay said in a statement on Sunday.

The spokesman added that the raid came after the forces discovered their terrorist cell and their plot to carry out an anti-government operation.

Earlier on Sunday, also in central Sinai, the forces killed three militants and arrested another, in addition to destroying a vehicle and five depots containing ammunition and explosives.

On the other side of the country, at the western borders with eastern Libya, the Egyptian air forces destroyed on Sunday 15 vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives before infiltrating into Egypt, raising the number of such destroyed vehicles since May to 42.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said in May that his forces similarly destroyed 300 vehicles coming from Libya over the previous three months, noting that about 1,000 of such cars crossed the borders to Egypt.

In a phone call on Sunday, President Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed several regional issues including joint efforts to reach a settlement in conflict-torn Libya.

For both Egypt and France, Libya is a terror exporter due to current chaotic conditions in the strife-stricken country that provides a suitable den for militants of various terrorist groups including the regional Islamic State (IS).

Egypt has been facing growing terrorism since the military ousted former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Hundreds of policemen and soldiers were killed in terror attacks mostly claimed by a Sinai-based terrorist group loyal to the IS militia.

The attacks focused on security men in Sinai at first, then they gradually prevailed nationwide and later started to target the country's Coptic minority to further pressure the government.

Last week, on July 7, a car-bomb terrorist attack on a checkpoint in North Sinai's Rafah city killed and wounded 26 soldiers, while the security forces killed at least 40 of the terrorists. Later on Friday, gunmen shot dead five security men at a checkpoint in Giza killed.

Meanwhile, security campaigns killed hundreds of militants and arrested a similar number of suspects over the past few years as part of the country's anti-terror war declared by Sisi, the army chief then, following Morsi's ouster.

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