Cairo: A total of 32 "criminal elements" were killed in Egypt's "lawless" Sinai Peninsula in a military operation held in coordination with Israel, Xinhua reported.

Military spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said that in the first stage of the operation, 32 criminals were killed and one was injured, and 20 vehicles used by the criminals, a huge number of weapons and ammunition were confiscated.

He said the first stage took place Aug 7 to Aug 30.He said there are aroud 400 to 600 "criminal personnel", and killing 32 in the first stage without any injury to the security forces or citizens was a "great success".

However, the army will not accuse any party or announce names of organisations involved until investigations are finished, he said. In the operation, a total of 31 tunnels at the northern borders with the Gaza Strip were discovered.

Armed forces intensified their existence in Sinai, following the deadly Aug 5 attack on a checkpoint in Rafah which killed 16 soldiers.

(Agencies)

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