Middle East

Roadside bombings kill 10 Egypt soldiers during Sinai raid

Photograph posted on Facebook by Egyptian military showing men arrested during raid in central Sinai (23 March 2017) Image copyright Egyptian mliitary
Image caption The military said seven militants were arrested during the raid in central Sinai

Ten Egyptian soldiers have been killed by two roadside bomb blasts during a raid against jihadist militants in the Sinai peninsula, the military says.

Fifteen militants were killed and seven others arrested during the operation, according to a statement.

Soldiers also destroyed half a tonne of the explosive TNT and seized two vehicles containing hand grenades and hundreds of mobile phones, it added.

An affiliate of so-called Islamic State (IS) is active in the Sinai peninsula.

It has been blamed for killing hundreds of soldiers and police since the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests.

Last month, five soldiers were reportedly killed by a roadside bomb in north Sinai.

Dozens of Coptic Christian families also fled the region after several members of their community were killed and IS vowed to escalate a campaign of violence that saw a chapel adjoining St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo bombed in December.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi ordered military and police chiefs "to completely eradicate terrorism in northern Sinai and defeat any attempts to target civilians or to undermine the unity of the national fabric" in response to February's killings.

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