CAIRO — Egypt’s army on Monday said 46 suspected jihadists have been killed in clashes in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where troops are fighting the Islamic State group.
The “extremely dangerous” militants were killed in shootouts in north and central Sinai, the army said in a statement read on state television, without specifying when the clashes took place.
About 100 “criminal, wanted elements and suspects” were arrested, and security forces destroyed dozens of hideouts and vehicles used by the suspected jihadists during operations in the Sinai, the statement added.
Three soldiers also died in fighting in “various areas of operations,” the army said but did not identify those locations.
The Sinai Peninsula is the epicenter of an insurgency spearheaded by the jihadist Islamic State group which surged following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi after mass protests against his one-year rule.
In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants, mainly focused on the volatile northern part of Sinai and the Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya.
Some 600 militants and around 40 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive, according to the armed forces. No independent statistics are available and northern Sinai is largely cut off to media and foreigners.