In pictures: Egyptian military's ongoing battle with ISIS in Sinai

The Egyptian army says it killed 40 militants and raided dozens of hideouts and weapons caches in the past three months

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Egypt’s military says its troops killed at least 40 militants in the tense northern region of the Sinai Peninsula in the past three months.

It said troops also raided and destroyed 437 hideouts, ammunition and explosives depots belonging to militants fighting government forces under the banner of ISIS. It said six explosives-laden, all-terrain vehicles were destroyed during that period.

Additionally, it said 159 roadside bombs were detected and safely detonated along with 32 motorcycles used by the militants.

Of the militants killed, 15 were shot dead during commando raids. Twelve others were detained.

Egyptian security forces have for years been battling militants in the Sinai Peninsula. The enduring insurgency in the mountainous region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip gained momentum after the removal by the military in 2013 of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi with a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in Sinai and the mainland shaking the nation of more than 100 million people.

But security forces have, over the years, prevented the militants from holding on to any significant territory as their counterparts in Iraq and Syria once did.

Stepped-up operations, moreover, have significantly reduced the number and deadliness of attacks in the past two years.

The military's statement, issued on Tuesday, included mentions of operations in Egypt’s mostly desert western region bordering Libya, where militant groups are based in the North African nation’s eastern region.

It said the air force, with help from border guards, destroyed 21 all-terrain vehicles as they tried to cross the border into Egypt while laden with explosives and weapons.

Libya-based militants have in the past crossed the border to wage deadly attacks against security forces and Christian pilgrims heading to remote desert monasteries.

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