Armed forces killed 19 “terrorist elements” and arrested another 249 between 27 October and 7 November, according to a Saturday statement.
The statement read that the armed forces were able to destroy 306 hideouts and safe houses used by “terrorist elements”, as well as destroying three storage places of ammunitions and weapons used by these organisations in “terrorist operations”.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM) released an audio statement on Friday, in which leader Abu Osama Al-Masry addressed the killing of Muslims in Egypt generally and particularly the families of the army soldiers killed in Sinai. He stated that the reason for killing them is that “they are taking the side of Jews and Christian allies who are tightening the siege on the people in Gaza”.
Al-Masry said that the soldiers are fighting Islamists and are taking the side of whoever casts aside Sharia law. He noted that ABM is killing the soldiers because they “kill Muslims and torture the innocent”.
Al-Masry asked “the families of the soldiers to come and listen to the people of Sinai, who will keep defending their money and homes, to check what their sons have done to them.”
He called for “Egyptians to get their sons out of the Egyptian army as they are allies for the Jews and Christians and prohibit them from joining the army”. He added that they will continue to fight the army.
The armed forces spokesman stated that ABM is a “terrorist organisation” and that there is no room for dialogue with them.
However, the “takfiri” or extremist ideologies are not new and that statement was released because ABM knows the consequences of creating the buffer zone and relocating the people on the borders which mean total destruction of the area, said the army spokesman.
According to the spokesman, the armed forces are aiming “total elimination of terrorist elements”.
The army has announced security measures to respond to terrorism, following an attack in October that left at least 30 army personnel dead, which involves the relocation of hundreds of people living in the border area with Gaza, military protection of vital facilities, and application of a limited state of emergency in North Sinai.
The authorities claim that over 80 houses out of 802 in North Sinai contain tunnels used for smuggling weapons and infiltrating terrorists. The army assured the safety of the residents who will be moved within the same government and compensated once the value of the lost properties are appraised.
Attacks on army soldiers in North Sinai have been increasing since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in August 2013. Dozens of these attacks have been claimed by ABM.