The Egyptian military on Monday announced that 36 terrorists and four army personnel were killed in the past five days in the country’s anti-terror military operation in the Sinai Peninsula.

A total of 345 terrorists and wanted criminals were also arrested during the same period, Xinhua quoted the army as saying.

The Egyptian armed forces have also destroyed 386 terrorist dens, hideouts and weapon storehouses, the statement added.

The major operation, dubbed “Sinai 2018,” was launched weeks before Egypt starts its 2018 presidential elections scheduled for late March, where incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is expected to make an easy win for a second term due to the lack of strong challengers in the race.

Since the beginning of the all-out operation, 22 military personnel and 157 terrorists have been killed.

Bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, Egypt’s North Sinai province has been the centre of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests.

Attacks later spread to several other provinces, including Cairo and started to target the Coptic minority via church bombings and shootings.