Egypt Launches Security Operation Against 'Terrorists': Army Spokesman

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A major offensive on militants in Sinai, Nile Delta and the Western Desert region began earlier in the day as the Egyptian military announced in a televised address that a push was being launched against "terrorist" strongholds in the country, after years of militant activity. Border Guard and civilian police forces are tightening the security procedures at the border gates, as well as tightening the security procedures for the watercourse.

Egyptian army armoured vehicles on the move - a military spokesman said the operation would cover large parts of Sinai.

The Egyptian armed forces announced on Friday launching a massive nationwide counterterrorism operation named "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018".

The ministry said its comprehensive security plan to curb the group's actions in Qalioubiya, Daqahliya, Beheira, Menoufiya, Sharqiya, Assiut, and Fayoum led to the arrest of 14 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood following raids on their hideouts on Friday, the ministry said. Since then, the Wilayat Sinai, the ISIL branch in Egypt, has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the area.

Rady pointed out that the armed forces and police are the only bodies responsible for issuing statements on the results of the Sinai 2018 Operation, noting that the presidency will release information regarding the current operations if necessary.

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After the mosque attack, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed his military chief of staff to quell the attacks in three months using "complete brutal force".

Egypt's military and security forces have been waging a tough and costly campaign against jihadists in the towns, villages and desert mountains of northern Sinai. They later extended to several other provinces including Cairo and started to target the Coptic minority via church bombings and shootings.

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), a regional terrorist group.

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

Meanwhile, Egypt will go to the polls next month in a presidential election in which Sisi looks poised to extend his term in office.

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