Egypt Launches Security Operation Against 'Terrorists': Army Spokesman

Egypt troops in North Sinai province target of a major military operation against militants announced

Egypt Launches Security Operation Against 'Terrorists': Army Spokesman

While Israeli intervention has helped the Egyptian military regain its footing in its battle against militants in the North Sinai, the strikes have bolstered the security of Israel's borders, reported the paper.

The security sweep in the Sinai, Nile Delta and Western Desert near the border with Libya comes as the country prepares for polls next month in which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seeking re-election.

The Egyptian army announced Friday morning the launch of a major operation against jihadists across swathes of territory, including the Sinai Peninsula bordering Gaza.

Eyewitnesses said they saw armored vehicles and tanks deployed in North Sinai cities of Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid while blast smoke rose in the sky and communication networks were nearly cut.

Rady pointed out that the armed forces and police are the only bodies responsible for issuing statements on the results of the Sinai 2018 Operation, noting that the presidency will release information regarding the current operations if necessary.

Army spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifaai said in a televised statement that the operation would "target criminal elements and organizations".

Egypt has been under a state of emergency after suicide bombings struck two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday past year in an attack that was claimed by the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State group.

In a later update, he said the air force had targeted a number of homes and hideouts in the north and west of the Sinai.

Maritime personnel insurance procedures are also tightened up by elements of the naval forces, with a view to cutting off the supply lines for terrorist elements.

Troubled North Sinai has been subject to many attacks targeting Coptic Christians, security forces in checkpoints and Sufi Muslims during Friday prayers.

Most of the violence has been in North Sinai province, but there have also been attacks on the military, police and even churches elsewhere, including in Cairo.

Meanwhile, Egypt closed its border with Gaza on Friday, a day earlier than planned, Palestinian Arab officials said, after the anti-jihadist operation began.

In 2014, Sinai's indigenous terrorists pledged their allegiance to ISIL terrorist group.

Egyptian security forces have so far killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the country's anti-terror war declared by Sisi, the army chief then, following Morsi's ouster in 2013.

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