The Egyptian army said Saturday it had killed 32 "criminal elements" during major operations it carried out in the past month in the Sinai Peninsula. They were launched after August 5 attack near the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip, which had killed 16 Egyptian border guards.
A military spokesman, Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali, said that 38 people, including "non-Egyptians" were arrested during the "Sinai operation," launched on August 7.
"The operation will continue until it reaches its objectives, which are not only military but also aim to develop the Sinai," one of the poorest regions of Egypt, he said.
The spokesman assured that the military deployment in this area is in accordance to the peace agreement with Israel and in "coordination" with the Jewish state.
Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak expressed last week his hope that the Egyptian army withdraws reinforcements deployed in Sinai once this operation is completed.
Colonel Ali added that 31 underground tunnels linking the Palestinian enclave of Gaza Strip to Egyptian territory had been destroyed during these operations, which also enabled the Egyptian forces to seize automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition.