Screenshot from latest series of hits by the Egyptian armed forces against terrorist hideouts in North, Central Sinai under comprehensive operation "Sinai 2018" (Photo Courtesy of Egypt Armed Forces spokesman)
Egyptian security forces killed 10 militants in an exchange of fire and arrested 400 suspects, including foreigners, as part of an ongoing anti-terrorism campaign focused on Sinai that was launched last week, the army said in a statement on Tuesday.
This was the sixth communiqué released by the Egyptian Armed Forces since Operation Sinai 2018 was launched on Friday morning.
The announcement brings to 39 the number of militants the army said were killed over the past five days of its massive operation.
Egypt launched Operation Sinai 2018 on Friday, 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.
Police and army units have "eliminated an extremely dangerous terrorist cell consisting of 10 takfiris hiding in a house in the city of Arish after an exchange of fire with the raiding forces, and seized quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosive devices that were in their possession," the communiqué said.
Four hundred criminals and suspects, including foreigners, have been arrested, it added.
The communiqué said security forces destroyed vehicles, motorbikes and dozens of hideouts and arms depots used by the terrorists. Dozens of explosive devices planted in several areas targeted by the militants as well as an underground depot containing 10 anti-tank mines have also been destroyed, it added.
Border guards and military engineers uncovered and destroyed two tunnel openings believed to be used by terrorists and 15 holes connected to trenches along the border area of the North Sinai governorate.
Forces involved in the operation also uncovered and destroyed nine farms used to grow illegal narcotics and seized tons of drugs, the communiqué said.
Meanwhile, naval units launched four land-to-sea and surface-to-sea missiles as they carried out a series of military exercises in the Mediterranean, while air forces and border guards continue to secure the country's western and southern borders.
Joint army and police forces have set up around 500 checkpoints and security patrols on main roads and desert areas nationwide as part of Operation Sinai 2018.
Over the past four years, Egypt has been battling a terror campaign, led by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, based in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula that has carried out deadly attacks against security forces and civilians. The army said it has killed hundreds of suspected terrorists in military operations.