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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Egypt announces major military operation in Sinai and Nile Delta

Troops and police on maximum alert to eliminate 'terrorist hotbeds'

Egypt troops in North Sinai province, target of a major military operation against militants announced on February 9, 2018. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
Egypt troops in North Sinai province, target of a major military operation against militants announced on February 9, 2018. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

Egypt's military announced on Friday the launch of a major operation in the Nile Delta and the northern Sinai Peninsula, heart of a persistent ISIL insurgency.

Police and troops have been put on "maximum alert" for the duration of Operation Sinai 2018, the army said.

The goal is to tighten control of border districts and "clean up areas where there are terrorist hotbeds".

The security forces have been increasingly targeted by extremist militants since the army removed Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood from the presidency in 2013.

Most of the violence has been in North Sinai province, the base for a militant group affiliated with ISIL, but there have also been attacks on the military, police and even churches elsewhere, including Cairo.

In November, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is seeking re-election in polls next month, ordered the armed forces chief of staff to restore security in Sinai within three months after militants killed more than 300 worshippers at a mosque.

The militants have also attacked tourists, killing all 224 on board a Russian plane carrying holidaymakers in 2015.

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Read more:

Gunmen kill Christian man in Egypt's Sinai

Pence promises Egypt full US backing in fight against militants

UN experts: ISIL militants still pose world threat

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