By: Nasser El-Azzazy
Eyewitnesses reported that a number of Egyptian Special Forces, including commando units, were deployed throughout the Sinai Peninsula on 8 March.
The troops’ presence appeared particularly heavy around the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid and along the border with Israel and the Gaza Strip. The deployment came with the destruction of underground tunnels leading into Gaza from Sinai, in a move to prevent smuggling and illegal entry of Palestinians into Egypt.
A military source said that a large number of commando units had been deployed along the border equipped with various arsenals of heavy weaponry.
Military reinforcements were called in to protect engineers responsible for destroying the tunnels after reports were received that various jihadist groups sought to infiltrate Sinai and attack police facilities and military forces.
A number of units were concentrated in Central Sinai, in the areas of Al-Husna, Nakhal and Al-Qasima. The units aim to control roads leading into northern and southern Sinai, Ismailia, and the Ahmed Hamdi Martyr tunnel to Suez.
General Ali Al-Azazi, aide to the Security Director of Northern Sinai, stated that the Al-Arish Central Security Forces had requested the aid of the city’s Security Directorate to help maintain order. He added that the country’s armed forces had been placed on high alert to prevent the outbreak of rioting and violence.
Half of the Central Security Forces remain on strike in Northern Sinai for the third day calling for the resignation of the minister of interior and better weapon supplies.