Egyptian aircraft continue attacks in northern Sinai

Military spokesman: Situation in Sinai "could spread to threaten regional and international security."

September 15, 2013 18:29
1 minute read.
Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer)

The Egyptian army continued operations against gunmen in Sinai, using aircraft on Sunday morning to bomb targets near the southern end of the Gaza Strip.

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.

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Ali said the deterioration of the security situation in Sinai marked a threat to Egypt “that could spread to threaten regional and international security.”

The 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 would begin.

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 territory.

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.

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