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Egypt releases data on Sinai insurgents: 1,600, most linked to Al Qaida

Special to WorldTribune.com

CAIRO — Egypt has provided figures on the insurgency presence in the
Sinai Peninsula.

For the first time, the Egyptian government released figures and details
of the insurgency presence in Sinai. The government said Sinai contains
1,600 fighters from Egypt and other countries.

Egypt launched a joint military and police operation in the Sinai Peninsula after an attack on a police station left 16 Egyptian border guards dead.

“Their numbers are close to 1,600 people, from different provinces and some from other countries,” a security official said.

On Aug. 22, the unidentified official told Egypt’s official Middle East
News Agency that the insurgency presence was mostly aligned or inspired by Al Qaida. The official also said Egypt’s military and security forces were searching for suspected attackers and insurgency organizers.

“There are 120 people wanted, including groups that attacked police
stations and killed a number of policemen,” the official told MENA.

Egypt has been conducting its largest counter-insurgency exercise in
decades, called Operation Eagle. The operation, sparked by the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers on Aug. 5, was said to have killed about 100 Bedouins, Palestinians and non-Egyptian nationals.

The official said Egyptian Army units, backed by main battle tanks and
attack helicopters, were searching for the fugitives in central and eastern
Sinai. No other details were given.

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