Egypt escalates army operations in Sinai

Egypt escalates army operations in Sinai

Egypt escalates army operations in Sinai

A military spokesman said the operation would cover large parts of Sinai, but also parts of the Nile delta and the Western Desert, where other militants have waged attacks, some believed to be staged out of neighbouring Libya.

"The air force targeted and destroyed 66 targets used by terrorist elements to hide from air and artillery attacks", for shelter during raids by security forces, he said in a statement.

The operation launched on Friday involves troops from the Egyptian air force, navy and ground forces as well as the police and border guards.

Four militants and 30 suspects were arrested, it adds.

The military said its warplanes struck "terrorist concentrations and hideouts" in northern and central Sinai through the night and into the early hours of Saturday, targeting weapons warehouses and logistics support areas.

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The air force also discovered and destroyed an explosives-making laboratory and a communications centre, as well as six cannabis and opium fields, he said.

The operation was launched as part of the efforts to reach the three-month deadline set by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to eliminate terrorism after the mosque attack that killed 310 people in the northern Sinai city of Arish in November, 2017.

El-Sisi wrote on his official Facebook page that he was following the military operation to eradicate terrorism from Egypt with pride.

The footage highlights the Egyptian military's top-of-the-line weaponry, including French Rafale fighters, US F-16 fighter-bombers, US Apache attack helicopters, a modern EADS transport aircraft, the Casa C-295, and US twin-rotored Chinook helicopters. They are blamed for a series of bomb, gun and suicide attacks that have killed hundreds in Egypt.

Since 2014, North Sinai has seen an increase in conflict between the army and police and Sinai Province-previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis before it announced its allegiance to the Islamic State.

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