Egyptian army troops in North Sinai (Photo: Egyptian army spokesperson)
Egypt's presidential spokesman Bassam Rady affirmed in press statements on Sunday that the current "Sinai 2018" comprehensive military operation is a more sophistocated and extensive successor to a previous series of operations dubbed "Martyrs' Right," the first phase of which was launched in 2015 as part of Egypt's wider war on terror.
The current military operation involves all branches of Egyptian armed land, naval and air forces, as well as the police and border guards.
Rady said President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is following all hourly developments related to the operation.
The spokesman also noted that the counterterrorism efforts come at a key time for Egypt, as the state is facing challenges of economic reform, development and providing services and jobs.
"The use of brute force against terrorism comes in line with the ongoing internal development in all fields and with Egypt's moves to maintain and achieve its strategic interests and national goals," the statement added.
The Egyptian army has been battling Islamist militancy in North Sinai for a decade.
Most terrorist attacks carried out in North Sinai in recent years have been claimed by the Daesh-affiliated Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.
The Egyptian army launched operation "Martyrs' Right" to counter terrorism in Sinai in September 2015.
Its second and third phases began in January and April 2016, respectively, while the fourth phase started In August 2017, 10 days after 26 Egyptian security personnel were killed in an attack the North Sinai city of Rafah.
On Friday, Egypt's Army Spokesperson Tamer El-Refaay announced the onset of the current comprehensive operation "Sinai 2018," which was launched “to implement the plan of comprehensive confrontation with terrorist and criminal elements and organizations in North and Central Sinai, and in other areas in the Nile Delta and desert areas west of the Nile Valley."