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19 gunmen, 2 officers killed as Egyptian army continues crackdown on armed Sinai groups

Oct. 18, 2016 9:53 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 18, 2016 5:28 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Egyptian army reportedly killed 19 gunmen believed to be affiliated to the Sinai Province group, after airstrikes hit more than 30 of the group’s bunkers and hideouts on Monday afternoon, according to Egyptian security sources.

The sources told Ma’an that the Egyptian army began a major crackdown against armed groups in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday morning, shortly after six Egyptian soldiers were killed by the group.

Later Monday afternoon, an Egyptian army officer and a police officer were also killed by the group.

The army officer was killed in clashes with gunmen, while the police officer was shot in the head after leaving his house in al-Arish city in the northern Sinai, where most of the violence has been taking place.

Egyptian security sources identified the police officer as Ayman al-Murshidi, 35. His body was taken to a military hospital in al-Arish.

Egyptian military and police forces have been the target of ongoing attacks, which have increased since Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi took power from democratically-elected Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

The Egyptian president came under attack following his violent suppression of Muslim Brotherhood members following his rise to power, which Sisi has argued is necessary to deter future attacks in the Sinai and across Egypt.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the militant group responsible for a majority of attacks on military personnel, aligned with the Islamic State (ISIS) group in November 2014, changing its name to Sinai Province.
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