Egypt’s military says its forces have killed at least four militants and detained scores of others in an ongoing campaign to quash extremists based in the Sinai Peninsula.
The military said in a statement on Sunday that at least two suspected militants and 250 “wanted and suspected criminals” had been arrested across the region in recent days.
According to official figures, more than 100 militants and at least 22 Egyptian soldiers have been killed in clashes in less than two months.
The army launched the latest campaign on February 9 after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave it a three-month deadline to crush the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Sinai.
Sisi has said setbacks by Daesh in Syria were driving its terrorists to try to relocate to Libya and Sinai. The group has killed hundreds of soldiers, policemen and civilians, mainly in its North Sinai stronghold but also elsewhere in Egypt.
The Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, after a deadly terrorist attack left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.
Over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup in July 2013.
The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with Daesh, has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults. The group later expanded its attacks to target members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as well as foreigners visiting the country, prompting Cairo to widen a controversial crackdown, which critics say has mostly targeted dissidents.