Egyptian soldiers keep guard during a military operation in Rafah, near the border with the southern Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Egypt forces killed five suspected jihadists on Sunday that were allegedly affiliated with the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which pledged loyalty to Islamic State.
Security forces killed the suspects during a raid on a farm in the Sharqiya province where they were preparing bombs, according to an Interior Ministry statement, the Egyptian website Mada Masr reported.
Egyptian forces also arrested 65 suspects during raids in northern Sinai, a security source said on Sunday, according to Egyptian state news agency MENA. Another 108 fugitives and criminals were arrested in the same region, said a security source quoted by MENA.
The army said it killed 14 suspected jihadists and arrested another 45 during raids in northern Sinai from Thursday to Saturday, an army spokesman said, according to a report by Ahram Online.
Forty other suspects were also arrested and five hideouts were destroyed.
“The Egyptian army has redoubled its efforts to hit militant groups but this fight is far from over,” said Prof. Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
“Groups such as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis now receive support from Islamic State, which sees in the Sinai Peninsula an attractive new arena for operations against Sisi's regime and as a potential battleground against Israel,” said Meital.
Metail also pointed out that this conflict is affected by instability in the Gaza Strip and neighboring Libya.
On Monday, terrorists on a motorbike opened fire on an army and injuring him northeast of Cairo, the army spokesman was quoted by the Egyptian website Asway Masriya as saying.