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Egypt military bombards Sinai in pre-election anti-militant operation Open in fullscreen

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Egypt military bombards Sinai in pre-election anti-militant operation

Egypt began the massive security operation on Friday [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 February, 2018

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The Egyptian army has said it has carried out intensive air raids in the Sinai Peninsula in a new offensive against extremists ahead of presidential elections next month.

The Egyptian army has said it has carried out intensive air raids in the Sinai Peninsula in a new operation against extremists ahead of presidential elections next month.

A military spokesman said on Saturday in an online statement that the airstrikes had targeted terrorist groups in Sinai, which has been the heart of a persistent Islamic State group insurgency.

"The strong strikes targeted stockpiles of weapons, ammunition, explosives and logistic support areas," the spokesman said.

He added that security forces had carried out raids in towns in north and central Sinai to "go after fugitives and eliminate them".

Tribal sources told The New Arab that the military has shelled the flashpoint towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid and that no casualties have been reported as of yet.

Medics said three soldiers have been killed since the start of the assault dubbed "Operation Sinai 2018".

They added that a member of the military's special forces was killed in south of al-Arish on Friday evening.

Egypt began the massive security operation on Friday involving land, sea and air forces in areas including Sinai and areas in the Nile Delta and Western Desert.

The operation began amid local media reports of heightened alert levels in north Sinai hospitals and in other neighboring provinces in anticipation of casualties.

The military campaign comes ahead of the presidential election in March in which President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is running for a second four-year term with no serious contenders.

Sisi, who is expected to easily win another four-year term after several potential challengers were either hobbled or dropped out, said on Facebook he was "proudly following the heroism" of the security forces.

Egypt has previously announced several major offensives aimed at tackling the jihadist threat.

Sisi was elected in 2014 in a landslide with promises of restoring security.

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