Egypt's army spokesperson Tamer El-Rifay during a press conference to announce the comprehensive results of Sinai 2018 operation (Photo: Egypt's army spokesperson Facebook page)
Egypt's army spokesman Tamer El-Refaie said at a press conference that 71 takfiris have been killed and five have been arrested since the start of the military's ongoing anti-terrorism Operation Sinai 2018, which will continue until it achieves its main goal of eradicating terrorism.
The Arabic word "takfiri" refers to extremist Sunni Muslims who accuse other Muslims of being infidels, often as a justification for using violence against them.
The press conference was held to demonstrate the results of Operation Sinai 2018, which was launched on 9 February to combat terrorism in North Sinai and other parts of the country.
El-Refaie said that seven army personnel have been killed and six have been injured during raids on terrorist hideouts since the start of the operation.
Another 1,852 people were arrested for being wanted in criminal cases or on suspicion of providing logistical assistance to terrorists. Many of those arrested have been released after being cleared of any charges.
The army has also located and destroyed three tunnels , two communication centres, 14 4x4 vehicles, 99 rifles, 269 motorbikes, 393 IEDs, in addition to large amounts of TNT and plastic explosives.
Since the start of the operation, Air Forces destroyed 158 terrorist sites, and the army's artillery destroyed 413 targets.
The army has destroyed 1,282 targets used as shelter by terrorists as well as storehouses containing medical equipment, weapons, ammunition, mines and materials used in manufacturing improvised explosive devices.
Operation Sinai 2018 involves land, naval and air forces, as well as the police and border guards.
The operation targets "terrorist and criminal elements and organisations" in northern and central Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert, the army said at the start of the operation.
The spokesman said that counterterrorism forces from the army, along with police forces and border guards, are continuing combing operations in pursuit of any terrorist or criminal elements.
The border guards, in cooperation with forces tasked with securing the Suez Canal waterway, are continuing their mission to protect navigation and tighten security measures at the crossings leading to the Sinai Peninsula.
The army spokesman said that Egyptian and French naval exercises are being held in the Red Sea from 20 to23 February, which El-Refaie said reflects the "depth of partnership and military relations between the two friendly countries in several fields."