Egypt's army has said they have killed 32 "criminal elements" in an operation against fighters in the Sinai Peninsula.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, military spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali also announced that 38 people had been arrested during “Operation Sinai," which began on August 7, days after 16 soldiers were killed at a border post. 

Ali said many of the captured in the operation were “non-Egyptians." 

"The operation will continue until its goals have been achieved ... These are not just military goals but also developmental goals for the Sinai," Ali said.

The statements were likely to unnerve Israel, which had expressed "reservations" over Egypt's deployment of reinforcements in the peninsula, with which it shares a border.

But Ali insisted that "the deployment of the armed forces, on all the territory of Sinai, is not a violation of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel".

"Our presence [in Sinai] is in the frame of coordination," with the Israelis, Ali said.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said last week he expected the Egyptian army to withdraw its reinforcements from the peninsula at the end of the operation.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies