(By Bonny Apunyu)
Egypt’s the armed forces on Friday killed at least 17 suspected Islamist militants in the Egyptian province of North Sinai, An Egyptian official security source reportedly told Xinhua that Apache raids on a camp of the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) group have killed ten militants southern Rafah city. Another seven were killed in fire exchanges with the security forces in Sheikh Zuweid city, the source added on conditions of anonymity.
According to reports, eight suspected militants were arrested, ten warehouses destroyed, six vehicles, and 20 motor bikes were seized during the security raids. The security forces reportedly dismantled 19 explosive devices found in Sheikh Zuweid, two of them were planted near a natural gas station, official news agency MENA reported.
According to Xinhua, earlier on Friday, a soldier was shot dead by Islamist militants while moving from his camp to a hospital in Sheikh Zuweid. Since the ouster of the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt has been witnessing a growing wave of anti-security attacks that killed hundreds of army personnel and policemen. Since then, the army has launched a wide-scale operation to uproot the hard-line militants who took from the Sinai Peninsula a stronghold for carrying out their attacks.
The former President Mohamed Morsi was last Saturday sentenced to death together with 106 supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood in connection with a mass jail break in 2011. The Grand Mufti, Egypt's top religious authority, will make the final decision on the rulings on June 2. According to reports, all capital sentences are referred to Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion, and are also subject to legal appeal.