Egypt's Salafi Call, a group of ultra-orthodox Salafi Muslims, said it is backing Egypt's army it its battle against terrorism, two days after a major counterterrorism operation focused on Sinai was launched.
"The Salafi Call, like all the Egyptian people, stands behind its army in its war on terrorism, and prays to God to help it [the military] prevent [terrorists] from corrupting the land," the group said in a statement late on Saturday.
On Friday, Egypt launched Operation Sinai 2018, involving land, naval and air forces, as well as the police and border guards, targeting "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations" in northern and central Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.
The Salafi Call, the parent organisation of Egypt's Salafist Nour Party, said terrorism in Egypt has become more dangerous than at any previous time and the threat is increasing. The Nour Party currently has 12 members in the Egyptian parliament.
It said many foreign countries have their eyes set on Sinai, claiming that terrorists carry out attacks in Sinai with "technological backing from intelligence [services] of countries hostile to Egypt."
"Egypt has for decades suffered from a variety of terrorist attacks, but terrorism in recent years has taken a very dangerous turn," targeting all Egyptians, including the army and police, as well as churches, to provoke sedition between Muslims and Christians, and even mosques, the group said in its statement.
The group, which has been involved in preaching, said militants have paid no heed to its "advice or guidance" against conducting attacks.
It referred to a November attack on a mosque in North Sinai that killed more than 300 worshippers, the deadliest such attack in Egypt's modern history, as well as the 2015 killing by militants of Nour Party leader Mostafa Abdel Rahman, secertary of the party in Arish, who was shot by unidentified gunmen.