Egypt army launches major anti-terrorism security operation in Sinai, Nile Delta

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Egypt launched Friday a major security operation against "terrorists and criminal organizations" in the province of Sinai - where security forces are battling Daesh terrorists - and elsewhere, an army spokesman said.

The operation is under way in northern and central Sinai as well as areas in the northern Nile Delta provinces and the western desert.

In a televised address, Colonel Tamer al-Refai called on Egyptians to "cooperate" with the forces "report immediately any elements that threaten the country's security and stability".

"The law enforcement forces began this morning implementing the comprehensive confrontation against the terrorist and criminal elements and organizations in northern and central Sinai," an army spokesman said.

The army spokesman said the operation will involve operational and training maneuvers to tighten state control on the country's crossing points with neighboring countries, and urged full cooperation with the law enforcement forces involved in the operation.

Police and army forces have been put on "maximum alert" for the operation.

Egypt has seen a rise in terrorist attacks - mainly targeting security forces and the country's minority Christian community - since the military toppled democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Most attacks took place in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

In November, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi ordered the military chief of staff, Mohamed Farid Hegazy, to use all necessary force to to end terrorist attacks in the volatile peninsula within three months.

The order came shortly after a militant attack on a mosque in northern Sinai that killed more than 300 people.

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