Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Egypt launches massive operation targeting Islamic militants in Sinai

Egypt army announces major operation in Sinai, Nile Delta Egypt launches 'major operation' after Sinai placed on alert
Faye Gross | 10 February, 2018, 05:31

"The Egyptian armed forces and police elements have been mobilized for a comprehensive operation... aimed at purging Sinai of terrorist elements", al-Rifai was quoted as saying on the army's Facebook page.

Naval forces tightened control on the sea in the governorate to cut maritime supply access for terrorists, in addition to tightening control at the border crossings and enhancing security at vital areas, he added. Additional troops were also brought into the North Sinai city of el-Arish and the rest of the peninsula.

The report said the buffer zone will destroy dozens of hamlets around the airport, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes for an unknown future, sparking some protest by residents despite the government promises of compensation.

Egypt's military and security forces have been waging a tough and costly campaign against jihadists in the towns, villages and desert mountains of northern Sinai.

Egypt has launched a renewed military assault against strongholds held by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) within its borders, principally in the Sinai Peninsula but also in Egypt's Nile Delta and its Western Desert region.

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Omar Ashour, an associate professor of security studies and Middle East politics, said the launch of the push fit a pattern of similar past operations ahead of major political events. IS attacks have killed hundreds of soldiers and police and has also included civilian targets.

"The whole idea of the coup and that operation was that security and anti-terrorism measures needed to be implemented, partly in Sinai but also elsewhere", Ashour told Al Jazeera.

Terrorists even attacked a mosque in North Sinai's Arish city last November, killing at least 310 Muslim worshippers and injuring more than 120 others, marking the deadliest terror attack and the first against a mosque in Egypt's modern history. A year later, Sinai's indigenous militants pledged their allegiance to Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group.

The Ministry of Higher Education said in a statement that universities and other institutions of higher education will also be closed for one week.

The ministry said its comprehensive security plan to curb the group's actions in Qalioubiya, Daqahliya, Beheira, Menoufiya, Sharqiya, Assiut, and Fayoum led to the arrest of 14 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood following raids on their hideouts on Friday, the ministry said.

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