The Defence Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday morning indicating progress in military operations in Sinai, and confirming a redeployment of military forces in the unstable territory, to hunt down “terrorist elements and criminal outposts.” The ministry did not mention the type of reinforcements that would be send, although past reports have indicated the use of aircraft and tanks.
The statement affirmed that since the beginning of operations in Sinai, the Armed Forces and civilian police have arrested 23 people, killed 11 and injured one. Those arrested or killed were described as having “extremist terrorist elements.” No names were disclosed in the statement.
The statement, delivered by Egyptian state television, also said the Armed Forces had recovered 11 vehicles plus munitions including four automatic rifles, light machine guns, five boxes of Israeli ammunition, six grenades, five anti-tank mines, and a BM-21 rocket launcher.
The Suez Canal is also being reinforced in response to the instability in neighbouring Sinai, according to Port Said security director Major General Sameh Radwan, who spoke to MENA on Wednesday.
The Armed Forces launched Operation Eagle following an attack on the Rafah border with Gaza that left 16 dead and an additional seven injured.
Minister of Defence General Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi visited south Sinai on Monday for the second time since his appointment to monitor progress made in the operation after briefing President Mohamed Morsy on developments. Since the initial attack, violence in Sinai has been sporadic, as security forces carry out raids on alleged militant strongholds. El-Sisi also reportedly met with Bedouin tribal leaders and other residents in the region.
Sinai has been an ongoing source of instability, especially following last year’s revolution. Although the specific groups engaging Egyptian security have not been identified, the Armed Forces has repeatedly referred to them as “extremist terrorists” who have gained a foothold in the region.