The Egyptian army has killed some 450 “terrorists” in Sinai since it launched a wide-ranging operation in the restive peninsula eight months ago, according to a military spokesman.
“Approximately 450 terrorists have been eliminated since Operation Sinai 2018 was launched in February,” spokesman Tamer Rifai told Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al-Arabiya television channel in an interview broadcast on Tuesday.
“The operation, however, has been extended as a result of our efforts to avoid civilian casualties,” Rifai told Al-Arabiya without providing a date for the operation’s conclusion.
During the ongoing operation, he said, Egyptian forces had been able to “destroy terrorist infrastructure and seize and detonate numerous explosive devices”.
Employing elements from both the army and police, Operation Sinai 2018 is ostensibly aimed at eliminating armed groups operating in northern and central Sinai, Egypt’s Western Desert, and in parts of the Nile Delta.
The Sinai Peninsula has remained the epicenter of a low-intensity militant insurgency since 2013, when Mohamed Morsi — Egypt’s first freely-elected president — was ousted in a military coup.