Egypt's army forces in the “critical phase of Operation Martyr's Right” released on November 5, 2016. (Photo Courtesy of Egyptian Army Spokesman Facebook Page)
Egypt's military raided three major “armed terrorist hotspots” in North Sinai, killing 11 militants, the army’s spokesman announced in an official statement on Saturday.
The spokesman said that the army tightened a siege on other militant hotspots in North Sinai’s El-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, seizing arms, wireless communication devices, computers and cameras.
The spokesman added that the army's operation against the insurgency has reached a “critical stage in uprooting terrorism.”
The statement added that 28 explosives were located in the El-Arish and Rafah areas and that 29 other explosive devices that had been planted to target security forces were defused.
The anti-terror operation “Martyr's Right” was first launched in September 2015 to root out militants operating in the restive Sinai Peninsula.
On Friday, an Egyptian army brigadier general was shot dead in El-Arish.
Egypt’s army launched a new security offensive two weeks ago against Islamist militants in North Sinai, killing over 50 in response to a militant attack one week earlier that killed 12 soldiers and injured six others.
This campaign includes operations by Special Forces units, the second and third field armies, as well as the police, all of whom aim to “capture and target terrorist elements and outlaws in the vicinity of villages, cities and residential areas in North and Central Sinai.”
In mid-October, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi extended a state of emergency in designated areas of the North Sinai governorate for three months, starting 31 October.
A state of emergency was originally declared in certain areas of the restive province in August 2013, and has been consecutively renewed ever since.
The army and police have been battling an entrenched Islamist insurgency for several years in North Sinai.