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Explosion in Sinai injures police officer

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Armed forces and police step up security campaign in volatile North Sinai

An explosion injured a police officer in the North Sinai capital of Al-Arish on Tuesday night, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.

Security forces searched the area for culprits and set up checkpoints to inspect passing vehicles.

The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the armed forces, has stepped up a campaign to crack down on illicit activity in the peninsula that has experienced sustained instability. The campaign aimed at “pursuing wanted fugitives, cracking down on criminal hotspots, drug dealers, thugs, burglars, [those possessing weapons] and vandals.”

The ministry also stated that it had destroyed 22 acres of “illicit drug cultivations” and had arrested more than 68 “criminal elements”, including one that had been convicted of assaulting a police station. The statement added that North Sinai police had handed down 217 traffic violations and seized 3 unlicensed motorbikes.

The armed forces spokesman announced on Tuesday that it had carried out military operations on Sunday and Monday, involving the raiding of “several terrorist hotspots”. The military said it had carried out the arrests of 34 suspects, seized 8 vehicles and demolished 5 tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border.

Earlier this month the armed forces and police detained 24 people in a series of raids in Sinai.

This week a Cairo court officially classified Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Sinai and across the country, as a terrorist organisation.

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