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    11 Egyptian troops killed in jihadist attack: 

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    Eleven Egyptian troops were killed on Saturday while attempting to stop a “terrorist” attack on the Suez Canal zone bordering the Sinai Peninsula, which is a hub of jihadist activity, according to the army.

    It was the army’s deadliest day in years in its long-running campaign in and around the Sinai Peninsula against militants linked to the Islamic State.

    According to the army, five soldiers were injured in the firefight on the canal’s eastern bank, and security forces were “continuing to follow the terrorists and encircle them in an isolated part of Sinai.”

    “These terrorist actions will not dissuade the country’s and army’s determination to keep eliminating terrorism,” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared on Facebook.

    Washington condemned the “terrorist attack in the Sinai targeting members of the Egyptian military” and expressed its condolences to the victims’ families.

    “For decades, the United States has been and remains Egypt’s strong partner in confronting terrorism in the region,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

    Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been gripped by an armed insurgency for more than a decade, which peaked after the ouster of late Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

    In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

    More than a thousand suspected militants and dozens of security personnel have been killed since the start of operations, according to official figures.

    In November, Egypt agreed with Israel to boost its troop numbers around the border town of Rafah to quell IS militants.

    In August, the army said 13 militants had been killed and nine of its soldiers were “killed or wounded” during clashes in the Sinai, without indicating when the fighting had taken place.

    In recent years, pipelines carrying Egyptian oil and gas to neighboring Israel and Jordan have been the primary targets of insurgent attacks.

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