The Egyptian army announced late on Tuesday the end of a first phase of security operations in North Sinai targeting Islamist militants. In addition, it revealed the start of a second phase aiming at enforcing security control and providing support to local residents of Sinai.
The televised statement aired on state TV assured the objectives of the first phase of the operation “Retribution for the Martyr” were met. The achievements included destroying hideouts and strongholds of “terrorist elements” in North Sinai, destroying a network of weapon storages used to execute operations against army and police in North and Middle Sinai in addition to cementing security over main and side roads around Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and Al-Arish.
On 7 September, the army launched operation “Retribution for the Martyr” to counter the ongoing insurgency in North Sinai. According to the military’s daily accounts of the operation, hundreds of “terrorist elements” have been killed as well as a few security personnel.
The military operation comes in the context of the ‘comprehensive plan’ to combat terrorism in Sinai amid a surge in militant activity ever since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
In allegiance with the “Islamic State”, the “State of Sinai”, formally known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the lion share of the attacks taking place in the area.