Egypt army announces major anti-jihadist operation reports: “The Egyptian army announced the launch on Friday of a major operation against jihadists across swathes of territory including the Sinai Peninsula, heart of a persistent Islamic State group insurgency.

The security sweep in the Sinai, Nile Delta and Western Desert near the border with Libya comes as the country prepares for polls next month in which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seeking re-election.

Police and troops have been put on ‘maximum alert’ for the duration of ‘Operation Sinai 2018’, which also involves the air force and navy, the army said in a statement on Friday.

Warplanes will bomb areas where jihadists are hiding while troops, tanks and armoured vehicles will be deployed on the ground, security sources said.

Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April last year, after two suicide bombings at churches claimed by IS killed at least 45 people in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

The goal of Operation Sinai 2018 is to tighten control of border districts and ‘clean up areas where there are terrorist hotbeds’, army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai said in a televised address…”

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