CAIRO – Egypt says its security forces have killed 53 militants since the beginning of a massive security operation, mainly in restive northern Sinai Peninsula, the epicenter of a years-long Islamic insurgency.
Armed forces spokesman Tamer al-Rifaai said Thursday that forces also arrested five militants and 680 others including "criminal elements" and people suspected of supporting militants.
The operation, announced Friday, covers north and central Sinai and parts of Egypt's Nile Delta and the Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya. It involves land, sea and air forces.
Militant attacks have generally surged since the 2013 military ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi following mass protests against his divisive one-year rule. The violence has been concentrated in northern Sinai Peninsula but has also spread to the mainland.