CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's military says it has begun a major security operation in areas including the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, where Islamic militants are most active.

Army spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifaai said the operation, which started on Friday and involves army and police forces, also covers central Sinai, Egypt's Nile Delta and the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.

El-Rifaai said the operation is targeting "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations."

Militant attacks have increased dramatically in Egypt since the military's 2013 ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, following mass protests against his one-year divisive rule. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but has also spread to the mainland. Egypt has been struggling to contain an insurgency for years.

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