At least 16 militants were killed on Sunday in raids by the military in Egypt’s restive North Sinai region under a major operation started to tighten control of border districts. The Egyptian army also said that 66 terrorist points, arms depots, eleven vehicles and 31 unlicensed motor-bikes used by militants in their attacks were destroyed during the raids.
The army also said that 30 suspected terrorists were arrested. Last Friday, police and army announced that they will be on high alert for the duration of Operation Sinai 2018. North Sinai has witnessed many terrorists attacks since the January 2011 revolution. The attacks, mainly targeting police and military, increased after the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military following massive protests against his rule.
Hundreds of police and army personnel were killed since then. The military has launched security campaigns in the North Sinai area, in which some terrorists are based. The security forces have arrested suspects and demolished houses that belong to terrorists, including those facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip. In November, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the military forces to restore security in Sinai within three months after militants killed more than 300 worshippers at a mosque.
In November last year, militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshippers as they fled, killing at least 305 people and wounding at least 128 others. The attack was said to be the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.