Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Army targets terrorist hotbeds in central and North Sinai

Army targets terrorist hotbeds in central and North Sinai

The military has boosted its operations on the border with Libya and repeatedly expressed concern about militants crossing from the chaos-wracked country to launch attacks.

Egypt has for years been battling an armed anti-government campaign in the rugged and thinly populated Sinai Peninsula, which has gained pace since the military overthrew democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013.

A military spokesman said the operation would cover large parts of Sinai plus parts of the Nile delta and the western desert, where other militants have waged attacks.

On Friday morning, the Egyptian Armed Forces announced the launch of a new major operation to confront terrorism in north and middle Sinai and other areas in the Nile Delta and the desert areas west of the Nile valley.

Police and troops have been put on "maximum alert" for the duration of the operation, the army said in its statement.

Security sources said on Thursday the operation, which had been in planning for some time, was unprecedented in its scope, coordination and size, involving thousands of troops, but did not provide further details.

Wenger: Mkhitaryan is very professional in training and matches
They even defeated Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at their temporary home in this season's UEFA Champions League campaign. Tottenham: 4-2-3-1Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen , Alli, Son; Kane .

The Sinai Peninsula had always been demilitarised under the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, but as the violence intensified the government responded by ramping up its military presence, with the tacit approval of Israel. Since then, the Wilayat Sinai, the ISIL branch in Egypt, has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the area.

In 2014, following a suicide bombing that killed 33 soldiers, current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a state of emergency in the peninsula, describing it as a "nesting ground for terrorism and terrorists".

Meanwhile, Egypt closed its border with Gaza on Friday, a day earlier than planned, Palestinian Arab officials said, after the anti-jihadist operation began.

Most of the terror attacks were carried out by the so-called Wilayat Sinai (Sinai state or province), a Sinai-based group affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), a regional terrorist group.

Sisi in November ordered the armed forces to clear North Sinai of Islamist militants within three months after an attack on a mosque that killed 300 people.

The comprehensive anti-terror operation comes weeks before Egypt starts its 2018 presidential elections, where incumbent President Sisi is expected to make an easy win for a second term due to the lack of strong challengers in the race.

Like this: