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Egypt mounts offensive against Sinai militants

Egypt mounts offensive against Sinai militants
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Egypt’s army has hailed its ground and air assault against suspected Islamist militants near the border with Israel as a ‘total success’.

It promised retribution, blaming extremists for Sunday’s attack that killed 16 Egyptian border guards in the increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula.

The army offensive, said to have followed further attacks on military checkpoints overnight, has reportedly killed at least 20 militants.

Egypt’s new Prime Minster Hisham Kandil expressed the government’s support for what he called “operations against any activity that could endanger national security.”

Speaking in Cairo, he added: “We call upon the Egyptian people to unite and work together to assure security and stability. We make a commitment to the Egyptian people that we will pursue those who committed both border attacks and punish them.”

Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi has appointed a new national intelligence chief and sacked the
governor of the north Sinai region in the wake of Sunday’s deadly attack.

Israel meanwhile has voiced approval of the security sweep, the biggest military assault in the area since its war with Egypt in 1973.