Egypt army begins large-scale operation to curb IS militancy

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The Egyptian military conducted a series of airstrikes on terrorists' infrastructure including munitions and weapons hideouts in the northern and central parts of the Sinai Peninsula, the country's army said in a statement on Saturday.

The strikes began on Friday and went on until the early hours of Saturday morning during which many weapons stores and logistic support zones belonging to the militants were destroyed.

"The armed forces call upon Egyptian people in all parts of the country to closely cooperate with law enforcement forces to confront terrorism, uproot it and immediately report any elements threatening the security and stability of the country", military spokesman Colonel Tamer al Rifai said in a televised address.

Apart from Sinai, the operation would also cover parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.

Since 2014, North Sinai has seen an increase in conflict between the army and police and Sinai Province-previously known as Ansar Beit el-Maqdis before it announced its allegiance to the Islamic State.

Only thirty minutes after the army's statement, President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi said he is following with pride the heroics of the army and police in the comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.

In December, Egyptian authorities executed 15 people convicted on terrorism charges for an attack on armed forces in the north Sinai in 2013.

State television said on Friday that all schools in North Sinai had been ordered shut from Saturday until further notice.

In this footage, the spokesperson for the Egyptian Army announced a comprehensive confrontation with criminal terrorist organizations in the Sinai and an operation by the coast guard and border forces to secure ports of entry to Egypt. The group has launched several violent attacks against army and police checkpoints in North Sinai cities. Sisi is widely expected to win as all opposition figures thought to pose a serious challenge to him have pulled out of the race. "I arrived to find my brother Amir gunned down, my younger brother was alive and my father was shot more than three times", Mahmoud Magdy recalls the horrific scene, as he entered al-Rawdah Mosque, looking for his family, among hundreds of massacred worshipers laying on the bloody ground of the holy house.