Egypt armed forces foil 'terrorist' plot in central Sinai

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al Sisi meets with his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Cairo on Thursday

Eight Egyptian soldiers and 14 militants were killed in fighting in central Sinai on Saturday when gunmen tried to target a military checkpoint, the army said.

The incident led to eight casualties and 15 injuries among Egyptian forces, Army spokesperson Tamer El-Refai was quoted as saying by Al-Ahram.

The latest extension was to allow security forces to "take [measures] necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country", the official gazette said.

"Among the 14 terrorist elements there were four wearing explosive belts and they were all armed with automatic rifles, medium-calibre rifles, and RPGs", the statement read.

The militants blew themselves up outside the camp after they were prevented by security forces from entering, an army statement said.

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The Egyptian government has dedicated 275 billion Egyptian pounds (about 15.6 billion US dollars) for the development of the Sinai Peninsula within four year as part of the country's efforts to eradicate terrorism, the Egyptian prime minister told the parliament on Sunday.

Security forces had also arrested 114 suspects and found and destroyed a training camp which included a shooting range, an obstacle course and an underground conference room.

Terrorism rose in Egypt following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against Morsi's one-year rule and his now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.

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