Egypt military operation kills 16 militants in Sinai Peninsula

Egyptian Forces. AFP file

Egyptian Forces. AFP file

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.

The ministry also said it had arrested 14 alleged militants in operations spanning five provinces the Nile Delta in the north and two provinces in Upper Egypt in the south, while the army had previously announced operations were to take place in the western desert.

Border guards and naval forces were securing the Suez Canal to make sure navigation through the worldwide waterway was not affected, the statement said.

The Egyptian army also said that 66 terrorist points, arms depots, eleven vehicles and 31 unlicensed motor-bikes used by militants in their attacks were destroyed during the raids.

Egyptian soldiers guard at a hospital treating the wounded from a jihadist attack that killed more than 300 worshippers at a North Sinai mosque in November past year.

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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.

They later extended to several other provinces including Cairo and started to target the Coptic minority via church bombings and shootings. "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.

The military has launched security campaigns in the North Sinai area, in which some terrorists are based. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the mosque attack though.

On Friday in Egypt began a large-scale operation to ensure security with the participation of the army and police against "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations" across the country, said the representative of the army.

The security sweep in the Sinai, heart of a persistent Islamic State group insurgency, comes as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seeks re-election next month.

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