The Egyptian army continued operations against gunmen in Sinai, using aircraft
on Sunday morning to bomb targets near the southern end of the Gaza
Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammad Ali said at a press
conference that the problems in Sinai were due to past negligence, adding that
the army was acting to eradicate terrorism and restore stability to the area,
according to the Egyptian State Information Service.
Ali said the
deterioration of the security situation in Sinai marked a threat to Egypt “that
could spread to threaten regional and international security.”
military was not going to leave Sinai without completely ridding it of all
terror, Ali said, adding that once security was restored a development process
Ali remarked that actions were being taken to stop smuggling
and illegal immigration in Sinai. He claimed that Egyptian forces had seized
over 150 kg. of explosives in a tunnel beneath a security watch tower along the
border with Gaza. Forces were combing the border area intensively with bomb
detectors, he said.
Some of the hand grenades that were confiscated were
marked with the stamp of Hamas’s armed wing, according to a report by Ahram
Online. Another report stated that the army had arrested 309 guerrillas since
July and destroyed more than 154 tunnels.
The Egyptian army was clearing
buildings deemed a security threat at a distance of up to 1 km. from the Gaza
border, Ali said, accusing groups in the Hamasrun territory of mounting joint
attacks with Sinai terrorists.
He said the move did not amount to a
buffer zone that Hamas fears Egypt is creating to further isolate the
Attacks on security forces are occurring almost daily, and
rocket-propelled grenades were fired at a vessel passing through the Suez Canal
on August 31.
Egyptian state media last week reported that Hamas had been
involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to plant bombs and that it had given
them land mines – an accusation dismissed by the Palestinian group as an attempt
to demonize it.