EGYPT'S army said it had killed 16 jihadists and detained 34 more in the Sinai Peninsula since launching a major operation against them on Friday.
"Elements of our air force targeted some of the outposts, weapons and ammunition stores used by terrorist elements as a base to target law enforcement forces and civilian targets in north and central Sinai", al-Refaei stated. A military spokesman said that the operation would cover large parts of Sinai, Nile Delta and the Western Desert and borders with Libya.
The military campaign is part of what the Egyptian government calls "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018".More news: Liverpool's predicted XI for their trip to Southampton
A total of 16 militants were killed, it added.
The air force also discovered and destroyed an explosives-making laboratory and a communications centre, as well as six cannabis and opium fields, he said.
Relations between Egypt and Israel have improved dramatically since the army ousted Islamist Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July, 2013.More news: Celtic, Man Utd lead tributes to former midfielder Miller
In remarks to "Ten new" talk show on TEN channel on Friday evening, Radi said that "Sinai 2018 is a result of a series of military efforts and investigations since 2013, and particularly after the Rawdah Mosque attack", which occurred on November 24, 2017 and claimed lives of more than 300 people in North Sinai. The mission, announced Friday, is meant to target "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations" across Egypt.
Following the mosque attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered the army to restore security and stability in North Sinai within three months.
In a Facebook posting on his account, Sisi wrote: "I follow with pride the heroic actions of my sons in the armed forces and police to clear Egypt's territory of terrorist elements".More news: Omarosa leaves 'Celebrity Big Brother' house for medical attention
In Cairo, the Egyptian Interior Ministry announced the deaths of three alleged members of the Hasm terror group in the capital but did not offer further details, in a statement published by the official MENA news agency.