Al-Arish port assets have been transferred from civilian to military oversight according to a presidential decree issued by former interim President Adly Mansour enacted Monday by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
The decree was issued citing security concerns in Egypt’s restive Sinai, as Al-Arish has frequently come under attack my armed insurgents that operate freely in the isolated peninsula.
The head of the Port Authority was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Egypt’s national security requires that the port be under the control of the armed forces due to its sensitive location.” The army spokesman was unavailable for comment.
Natural gas pipelines south of Al-Arish have been bombed 23 times since Hosni Mubarak’s 2011 ouster and are often claimed by the region’s largest militant group, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.
The armed forces have been waging a fierce campaign against armed militants in the restive Sinai. Airstrikes are frequently reported alongside the destruction of cars, houses and equipment belonging to suspected militants. A vast majority of the smuggling tunnels that are used to transport goods and weapons between the Sinai and the Gaza strip have also been destroyed.
The armed forces also recently built a wall around the city of Al-Arish to prevent militant infiltration. Former Minister of Defence Al-Sisi stressed during his presidential campaign that he will root out terrorist elements and return stability and security to Egypt.