16 militants killed in Sinai: Egypt army

Egyptian Forces. AFP file

Egyptian Forces. AFP file

Operation Sinai 2018 was launched Friday, "to implement the plan of comprehensive confrontation of terrorist and criminal elements and organisations in North and Central Sinai and other areas in the Nile Delta and the desert areas west of the Nile Valley".

The statement gave no details on any casualties in the operation or any figures on the number of people arrested, but said the assault would continue.

The third day of the operation also resulted in the destruction of a media center that contained a number of computers and wireless communication devices in addition to books and other means used to spread "jihadist ideology", according to the army statement.

Security forces also uncovered and destroyed six farms used to grow banned narcotics, the statement said.

He said in a second statement the air force had targeted militant hideouts in north and central Sinai, while the navy tightened its maritime control to cut off supply lines.

In a Facebook posting on his account, Sisi wrote: "I follow with pride the heroic actions of my sons in the armed forces and police to clear Egypt's territory of terrorist elements". "The wide spread of the Egyptian Armed Forces in the Sinai will leave no presence to a single militant", an army source who preferred to remain anonymous told Egypt Independent on Sunday.

Schools in North Sinai have been closed until further notice starting Saturday as the army and police continue operations.

Security forces have for years battled an IS insurgency in North Sinai that has killed hundreds of soldiers and police.

Most of the terror attacks were carried out by the so-called Wilayat Sinai (Sinai state or province), a Sinai-based group affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) regional terrorist group.

Following the mosque attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered the army to restore security and stability in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula within three months.

No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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