Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in Sinai in 2014. File photo by Ismael Mohamed/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Egypt's military launched an attack targeting terrorist hotbeds in different parts of the Sinai Peninsula, parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.
The military action, named 'Sinai 2018,' starts a "comprehensive counter-terrorist plan" in the country, Col. Tamer Rifai announced Friday.
"Law enforcement forces began this morning implementing the plan of comprehensive confrontation against the terrorist and criminal elements and organisations in the north and central Sinai and other areas in the Delta of Egypt and the desert back in the west of the Nile Valley," Rifai said in a televised statement.
"This comes in addition to training and other operations on all strategic directions in order to tighten control of the ports of the Egyptian state."
Officials are also strengthening maritime and land borders to help cut off supply lines for terrorist activity.
The army also placed hospitals in the regions affected by the announcement on high alert in preparation for any medical evacuations. Additional troops were also brought into the North Sinai city of el-Arish and the rest of the peninsula.
Since the Egyptian military ousted President Mohammad Morsi in 2013, militants have been increasingly targeting security forces around Mount Sinai.
In December, Egyptian authorities executed 15 people convicted on terrorism charges for an attack on armed forces in the north Sinai in 2013.
An attack on a Sinai Peninsula mosque in November killed more than 300 people.
"We will respond to this act with brute force against these terrorists," President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a televised address in November. "This terrorist act will strengthen our resolve, steadfastness and will to stand up to, resist and battle against terrorism."