Egypt Says 20 Militants Killed in Sinai, Western Desert in Counter-terror Op

The Egyptian military said weapons and explosives were also seized

Egypt's security forces in Qalyubiyah, a governorate north of Cairo, Egypt, August 11, 2018.

Egypt's military said on Wednesday that it killed 20 militants in recent days as part of a wide-scale operation to uproot terrorists.

The efforts targeted militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula in the country's east, and the Western Desert in the west.

The military said in a statement that 13 militants were killed in northern and central Sinai in an exchange of fire, and soldiers destroyed 41 explosive devices planted on roads.

The military also said it spotted a hideout in the desert region in western Egypt that was used by terrorists to launch attacks. The operations left seven terrorists dead, and weapons and explosive belts were seized, it added. "An airstrike was carried out and was followed by combing operations to cleanse the region from terrorist elements," the statement said.

In February, Egypt launched a major security operation against "terrorists and criminal organizations" in Sinai – where security forces are battling Islamist militants – and elsewhere.

Egypt has seen a spate of attacks targeting security forces, mainly in northern Sinai, since the army's 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.