An Egyptian military vehicle is seen on the highway in northern Sinai, Egypt, in this May 25, 2015 file photo (Reuters)
Egypt's army spokesperson Colonel Mohammed Samir told Ahram daily on Sunday that the military could instantly uproot a militant insurgency it is battling in North Sinai, but is refraining due to concerns for the lives of local residents.
The statement comes amid a wave of attacks targeting police and military in parts of North Sinai governorate and two days after 15 Egyptian policemen were killed in a militant attack in Arish that was claimed by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, an affiliate of the Islamic State group.
"The Egyptian armed forces make careful calculations when dealing with dangers threatening it," the spokesman told Ahram daily during an editorial meeting at the news organisation.
The military "is capable of instantaneously purging Sinai [of militancy] but it is keen to [protect]…residents from dangers," Samir was quoted as saying, adding that the battle against the insurgency is "a matter of time."
Egypt’s army has been battling a militant insurgency in North Sinai governorate, which has seen the death of hundreds of security forces and militant fighters.