CAIRO – At least 30 terrorists were killed in a week of anti-terror security raids in North Sinai province east of Cairo, the Egyptian military spokesman said in a statement Wednesday, BSS reports.
The confrontations also left three military officers dead and two soldiers wounded, said military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay in the statement.
During the week-long raids in the northern and central parts of the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian military and police forces arrested 173, destroyed 10 vehicles loaded with weapons and ammunition, and detected and defused 74 explosive devices planted to target the forces.
The raids are part of the country’s massive anti-terror operation “Sinai 2018” that left so far about 238 terrorists and 35 soldiers dead since it started in February.
Terrorism rose in Egypt following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
Terror attacks gradually expanded from North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip to other provinces including the capital Cairo and started to target the Coptic minority via church bombings and shootings.
Terrorists further stormed a mosque in North Sinai’s Arish city last November, killing more than 300 Muslim worshippers and injuring over 120 others, marking the deadliest terror attack and the first against a mosque in Egypt’s modern history.
Following the mosque attack, Egyptian newly re-elected President Abdel- Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi’s 2013 removal as the army chief then, ordered the armed forces to uproot terrorism in Sinai within three months.
In mid-April, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that his government allocated 275 billion Egyptian pounds (about 15.6 billion U.S. dollars) for the development of the Sinai Peninsula within four year as part of the country’s efforts to eradicate terrorism.