17 extremists killed in security raids in Egypt

Cairo: At least 17 suspected militants were killed Thursday in security raids in Rafah city of Egypt’s North Sinai province, a security source said.

Egyptian troops killed 12 militants, who are believed members of Al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, destroying their vehicles which were used in attacks against Egyptian soldiers in southern of Rafah, Xinhua quoted the source as saying.

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Also in Rafah, five suspected militants were killed and three others arrested while they were trying to plant bombs.

Coinciding with the first anniversary of the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, the raids are part of a massive security campaign waged by the Egyptian military in cooperation with the police against militant groups in Sinai.

Since Morsi’s removal, extremist groups have launched a series of bombings in Sinai, the capital Cairo and some other provinces nationwide, targeting security staff and buildings.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, labelled as a terrorist organisation by Egypt and the US, has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Security crackdown on Morsi’s loyalists has left about 1,000 killed and thousands others arrested over the past 10 months.