CAIRO – Egypt’s armed forces announced on Tuesday the killing of 10 alleged militants and the arrest of 400 people as part of an ongoing military offensive in the Sinai Peninsula in the country’s northeast, an army spokesman said, bringing the total number killed to 38 since “Operation Sinai 2018” began five days ago.
Col. Tamer el-Refaei said the 10 alleged militants were killed a house in Arish, the capital of North Sinai province and the peninsula’s largest city, adding that weapons and explosives had been found in the building.
The statement also listed “The arrest and taking legal action against 400 criminal elements and suspects of foreign nationalities,” bringing the official number of arrests to 526 people since Friday.
Egypt’s military has been fighting since 2014 against terror organizations in Sinai, including a subsidiary of the Islamic State, and authorities have imposed a total media blackout on the counterinsurgency operations in the restive peninsula.
Operation Sinai 2018 is taking place amid the run-up to Egypt’s presidential election, scheduled for late March, in which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seeking a second term in office.
On Nov. 29, al-Sisi gave the military a three-month deadline to clear the Sinai Peninsula of militants, days after terrorists staged a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in northern Sinai that killed over 300 worshippers.