FILE - military spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai
CAIRO - 16 October 2018: More than 450 terrorists were killed in Sinai since the start of the comprehensive Sinai operation in 2018, according to the military spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai on Tuesday.
Last February, and under the title "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018", Egypt's Armed Forces launched a comprehensive military operation targeting the hotbeds of terrorists in Northern and Central Sinai.
Sinai, in particular, has been a staging ground for militants operating in Egypt for decades. It is also believed to be home to the Islamic State’s Egyptian branch, which has been primarily targeting civilians and security forces.
Egypt has been struggling for years to contain terrorist activities in Sinai. Many military operations have been carried out by the army and police forces, killing hundreds of militants and building a buffer zone along the border with Gaza, so that Egyptian authorities can curb the flow of militants and weapons infiltrating through underground tunnels.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi authorized the army chief of staff to use “brutal force” against terrorism. In February, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched a full-scale military operation titled "Sinai 2018" to confront terrorist elements in Sinai and other areas across the country. Military spokesman Tamer al-Rifai announced a major military operation to purge the country from terrorism.