Spokesman for the Presidency, Bassam Rady - File
CAIRO – 9 February 2018: The Sinai 2018 Operation came as a result of intensive military efforts and intelligence carried out since 2013, specifically after the Al-Rawda mosque attack on November 24, Spokesman for the Presidency, Bassam Rady, said on Friday.
Rady pointed out that the armed forces and police are the only bodies responsible for issuing statements on the results of the Sinai 2018 Operation, noting that the presidency will release information regarding the current operations if necessary.
Egypt launched a major security operation named “Sinai 2018” involving the army and police against ‘terrorist and criminal elements and organizations’ across the country, mainly in Sinai, as part of the army’s long standing crack down on the jihadist insurgency escalated since the ousting of ex-Muslim brotherhood-affiliated president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Abdel Aal said in previous statement on Thursday that Egypt has witnessed a severe decline in the number of terrorist operations in the last period thanks to the police and army’s counterterrorism efforts.
“The anti-terrorism measures should not be restricted to military and security operations, but they also include addressing economic, cultural and social aspects of the phenomena, hence Egypt established a higher council to combat terrorism and extremism which focuses mainly on precaution measures," Abdel Aal added.
Following the bloody terrorist attack on Rawda mosque that killed more than 300 people in November 2017, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered his military command to use all force necessary to secure the Sinai Peninsula within three months.
On Friday morning, the police announced the highest state of alert in all Egyptian governorates amid the fierce war against terrorism, while the military spokesperson, Chief Colonel Tamer Rifai, released two consecutive televised statements on the operation.
The first statement read as follows:
"As part of the mandate given by the President, the Commander-in- chief of the armed forces to the General Command of the armed forces, and the Ministry of Interior for the comprehensive confrontation of terrorism and other criminal operations in close cooperation with all State institutions, this morning the law enforcement forces began to implement the Comprehensive confrontation plan of terrorist and criminal elements and organizations in North and Central Sinai and other areas of the Delta of Egypt and the Western Desert linebacker. This is in addition to carrying out other training and operational tasks and exercises in all strategic directions, with a view to controlling the state's external outlets Of Egypt, to ensure the realization of the planned objectives of clearing areas where there are terrorist hotbeds, and to fortify Egyptian society from the evils of terrorism and extremism in parallel with other crimes affecting security and internal stability."
In statement No. 2 on the comprehensive anti-terrorism operation, the spokesperson confirmed, “The Air Force is targeting hotbeds and dens of terrorist elements in the north and central Sinai,” aired at 11:50 am Cairo local time.
The second statement read as follows:
"As part of ongoing law enforcement efforts, elements of the Air Force have targeted some of the hotspots, dens, weapons and ammunition depots used by terrorist elements as a base for targeting law enforcement forces and civilian targets in Northern and Central Sinai.
Maritime personnel insurance procedures are also tightened up by elements of the naval forces, with a view to cutting off the supply lines for terrorist elements. Border Guard and civilian police forces are tightening the security procedures at the border gates, as well as tightening the security procedures for the watercourse.
Joint elements of the army and the police are intensifying the security measures for the vital goals and areas throughout the country."