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Egyptian forces kill, arrest Islamist fighters in Sinai

There have been several escalations between Egyptian forces and Islamist groups on the peninsula recently.

The Egyptian military has reportedly killed dozens of Islamist fighters on the Sinai Peninsula since September.

Egyptian forces killed at least 40 of the fighters since Sept. 1, in addition to destroying 440 hideouts and arms storage areas. They also destroyed 38 vehicles, dismantled 160 explosives, found weapons and arrested more than 20 suspected fighters, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Various Islamist groups have been fighting the Egyptian state in the Sinai insurgency since 2011. The Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda are among the groups operating in the strategic territory that links the Middle East to Africa.

There have been numerous incidents in Sinai recently. In November, IS claimed an attack on an Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel in the northern part of the peninsula. Egypt said it conducted successful attacks on IS in Sinai in September.

Egyptian security forces have also clashed with Islamist fighters in the greater Cairo area this year.

Egypt has one of the most powerful militaries in the region, in part because of decades of US military aid. Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel, which is located on the other side of Sinai.

Also this week, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would continue to sell weapons to Egypt, despite human rights concerns about President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rule.

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