Sixteen militants killed in Sinai operation, Egyptian army says

Major assault launched against IS in Egypt

Egypt begins massive security operation targeting militants

A military spokesman said the operation would cover large parts of Sinai, but also parts of the Nile delta and the Western Desert, where other militants have waged attacks, some believed to be staged out of neighbouring Libya.

"The air forces targeted 66 hideouts and centres used by terrorists", Xinhua quoted a statement as saying, adding that 11 vehicles and 31 motorbike as well as three explosive warehouses were destroyed during the continuous raids.

The security operation launched on Friday involves troops from the Egyptian air force, navy and army as well as the police and border guards.

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He also threatened the United States , saying that his country had the military power to destroy all American bases in the region. The army said it was "monitoring events and is fully prepared for further action, depending on assessments and necessity".

Twenty militants were arrested on Sunday by paramilitary Frontier Corps in an intelligence-based military operation in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

The military campaign is part of what the Egyptian government calls "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018".

A video recording posted on social media, purportedly from a group affiliated to Islamic State, appeared to showed masked militants executing soldiers and civilians they accused of collaborating with security forces.

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It referred to a November attack on a mosque in North Sinai that killed more than 300 worshippers, the deadliest such attack in Egypt's modern history, as well as the 2015 killing by militants of Nour Party leader Mostafa Abdel Rahman, secertary of the party in Arish, who was shot by unidentified gunmen. They are blamed for a series of bomb, gun and suicide attacks that have killed hundreds in Egypt.

The Salafi Call, the parent organisation of Egypt's Salafist Nour Party, said terrorism in Egypt has become more risky than at any previous time and the threat is increasing.

"The armed forces and the police assert their determination to uproot terrorism and to achieve peace and stability", Rifai said, according to the statement.

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Putin told Netanyahu there was a need to avoid any steps that would lead to a new confrontation in the region, Interfax reported . An air force chopper picked up the wounded crew and transported them to the trauma unit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

The offensive comes ahead a March vote that will undoubtedly see Mr El Sisi win a second four-year term.

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