World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's army on Friday said it had killed 78 suspected militants and arrested 203 others in its ongoing security offensive in the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt's Sinai, which shares borders with both Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, has seen almost daily attacks by unknown assailants since the July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the powerful military.
The attacks prompted the Egyptian military to launch a wide-scale operation against what it says are Sinai-based militant groups.
Among the 78 killed, 32 were non-Egyptians, while 48 of the 203 arrested were also of other nationalities, according to army spokesperson Ahmed Ali.
Ali did not provide further details, however, regarding the nationalities of the foreigners said to have been killed and arrested.
The announcement came only a few days after 25 police officers were killed and two injured in an attack in North Sinai.
The incident was the deadliest of its kind since August of last year, when 16 Egyptian border guards were killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen at a border checkpoint near the North Sinai city of Rafah.
The army also destroyed 343 border tunnels linking Egypt to the Gaza Strip, 292 of which were flooded with water, according to Ali's Friday statement.
At least 62 underground fuel tanks used to smuggle fuel across the border into the besieged Palestinian enclave were also destroyed, it added.
The Egyptian army's crackdown on Egypt-Gaza border tunnels has squeezed the beleaguered Gaza Strip, which relies heavily on goods smuggled from Egypt.
In 2010, Israel eased its longstanding blockade of the strip due to an international outcry that followed its attack on a Turkish-led aid flotilla bound for Gaza. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the maritime raid.
With the easing of the flow of goods through Israeli-controlled overland crossing points, the tunnels were dedicated mainly to transporting items restricted by Israel, especially construction materials and Egyptian fuel.
According to a recent UN report, 80 percent of all tunnel transport activity has been brought to a halt as a result of the Egyptian army's recent demolition activities.Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Ağustos 2013, 21:56