Egyptian forces kill 38 jihadists in major Sinai operation
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Egyptian forces kill 38 jihadists in major Sinai operation

More than 500 fighters and other suspects arrested in clampdown on Islamic State group affiliate

Smoke billows on the Egyptian side of the border, seen from Rafah in southern Gaza, following an explosion, on February 10, 2018. Egypt closed its border with the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said, after Cairo launched a major operation against jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)
Smoke billows on the Egyptian side of the border, seen from Rafah in southern Gaza, following an explosion, on February 10, 2018. Egypt closed its border with the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said, after Cairo launched a major operation against jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt’s military said Tuesday it had killed 38 terrorists and arrested more than 500 jihadists and suspects, days after launching a major operation against an Islamic State group affiliate in Sinai.

The military said it had killed ten “extremely dangerous” extremists, in addition to 28 jihadists it had previously announced as having been killed.

A statement added that 400 “criminal elements and suspects” had been arrested, having previously announced the arrest of 126 people.

The dead jihadists had been “hiding inside a house in the vicinity of El-Arish city (North Sinai province’s capital) following a shoot-out,” spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said in the statement.

The operation also destroyed several vehicles and warehouses, he said.

On Friday, the military announced the start of “Operation Sinai 2018” in the Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel, the central Nile Delta, and the Western Desert near the border with Libya.

The security sweep comes as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seeks re-election in March, after a first term in office that has seen him crack down on an Islamist insurgency and other opponents.

Egypt’s security forces have been increasingly targeted by jihadists since the army — then headed by Sissi — overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Jihadists linked to IS and based in North Sinai have waged a deadly insurgency against the country’s security forces.

Egypt’s air force and navy have also been taking part in the operation, with the Sinai sweep focusing on targets in the north and center of the peninsula.

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