Egypt's army said Monday (November 4th) it had killed 83 militants in clashes in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where an "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) affiliate has waged a long-running insurgency.
Security forces killed 77 extremists who were found with stacks of weapons and ammunition in north and central Sinai, the army said.
Six other "highly dangerous" militants were killed in shootouts in the region, the army said in a statement on a nationwide anti-militant operation between September 28th and November 4th.
Three soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting, the statement added, without elaborating.
About 61 "criminals, wanted individuals and suspects" were arrested, it said.
Security forces also destroyed dozens of hideouts and vehicles as part of the ongoing operation, according to the statement.
During the month of October, the air force destroyed 14 hideouts and shelters used by militants, as well as 115 four-wheel drive vehicles used in illegal activities, it said.
Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai.
In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants, mainly focused on North Sinai.
The operation also targets other areas including the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.
The latest army figures bring the death toll of suspected militants in the Sinai region to more than 830.
About 60 security personnel have been killed since the start of the offensive.
Extremist groups suffer blows
Egypt’s armed forces have recently made major progress against extremist groups in Sinai, Maj. Gen. Adel al-Omda, a strategic expert and advisor at the Nasser Military Academy, told Al-Mashareq.
"Such progress has significantly weakened armed groups," he said, noting that the intensive efforts of the army and police forces have succeeded in draining the sources of material and logistical support for terrorists.
Armed groups have used tunnels and the porous coast along Egypt's border to smuggle in weapons and other material and logistical support, he said, but the army's tightening control over the country's borders has made this "almost impossible for the terrorists".
That is why they are trying to find other sources of funding, al-Omda said, adding that terrorist groups have tried to finance their activities through the sale of drugs, "but the armed and security forces have thwarted these attempts".