Cairo: An al Qaeda-inspired group in Egypt`s volatile Sinai Peninsula called in a statement on Monday on the country`s army and police to desert, telling troops they otherwise face death at the hands of its fighters.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, said it considers Egyptian troops to be infidels because they answer to the secular-leaning military-backed government.
The group and others based in the Sinai have been blamed for a surge of attacks against the security forces since a July coup toppled the country`s former Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.
In reaction, Egypt`s armed forces launched a military offensive in the Northern Sinai province in August, going after suspected militants in the region.
Speaking at a public forum today, the military spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Ali said so far the operations have resulted in the killing of 184 militants and the arrest of 803 others. He said about 25 percent of those killed and arrested are foreign fighters, but didn`t provide further details.