FILE - Chairman of the National Security Parliament Committee, Kamal Amer
CAIRO – 9 January 2018: “Egypt undoubtedly will defeat terrorism. This is just the start, one step on our long way towards achieving Sinai development plan,” Chairman of the National Security Parliament Committee, Major General Kamal Amer, told Egypt Today in an interview about the ‘Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018.’
Despite the fact that Egypt’s Armed Forces launched a lot of operations before; this operation is considered as a ‘turning point’ in the country’s battle against terrorism according to Amer. He added that it is natural to launch more than one military operation against terrorist elements and militia, which means that fighting terrorism is a ‘gradual process’, it takes time and effort.
“I believe that this military operation particularly will play a key role in eliminating the terrorist groups in Sinai that aims to destabilize the country,” Amer affirmed.
Security services have been intensified and a larger number of security forces have been deployed at fixed checkpoints, February 9, 2018 - Press Photo
The Bedouin tribes’ role in Sinai is vital according to Amer. “They gave the army and police forces extremely valuable information about the terrorist’s locations and forms. Bedouins are a crucial part of the Egyptian state and it’s expected that they are engaging in our war against terrorism,” Amer said.
The next period will witness more serious steps in implementing the state’s plan of developing Sinai Peninsula according to Amer. The government was sure that whatever it was trying to do for the reconstruction of Sinai, the terrorist groups would try to destroy it. “The success of this operation will give us the chance to build Sinai as we wish it to be.”
The terrorist groups, which are located in Sinai, are backed and financed by several, well-known governments and countries according to Amer. “They are targeting our infrastructure and security. They don’t want our country to develop and achieve its goals; however we have a very strong Army capable of foiling all of their plans to defeat us,” Amer said
Egypt's ground troops in a full-scale offensive against militants in North and Central Sinai on Friday, February 9,2018- Phoro courtesy of the Armed Forces Spokesperson's Facebook page
Commenting on the claims reported by the New York Time’s on Israeli airstrikes inside Egyptian territory, Amer said that ‘Operation Sinai 2018’ is the best response for such claims. “We are capable to defeat terrorism on your own in our country without allowing any other parties to interfere within areas of our sovereignty,” he affirmed.
There is no such “secret alliance” between Egypt and Israel in fighting terrorism in North Sinai, Military Spokesperson Tamer al-Refaei told Egypt Today on February 4, denying the New York Time’s report on Israeli airstrikes inside Egyptian territory.
“The Egyptian Armed Forces, as part of law enforcement forces, is entrusted with all military operations in cooperation with the civilian police, as stipulated by the law and constitution in the designated areas,” Refaei said.
He urged media outlets to refer to the official and competent authorities to fact check information. The New York Times published a February 3 article claiming that Israeli jets carried out more than 100 airstrikes over two years to help defeat militants in North Sinai.
A military official told Shorouk News on Sunday that “Egypt does not accept that any country interferes within its borders because it is capable of counter terrorism without the assistance of any state.” “It is the Armed Forces that confronts the terrorist and takfiri elements in some limited areas in North Sinai,” the source added.
The Egyptian military “is making great successes against terrorist elements and regaining security once again in these areas,” the source continued.
Under the title "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018," Egypt's Armed Forces launched a comprehensive military operation targeting the hotbeds of terrorists in northern and central Sinai Peninsula on Friday, in a bid to purge the country from terrorism.
The army released two-video statement on Friday to announce the launching of the operation.
The transcript of the army's statement that was aired at 8:50 am Cairo local time, reads:
In the name of Allah the Merciful
The great people of Egypt,
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.
The general command of the armed forces therefore calls upon the great people of Egypt throughout the Republic, to cooperate closely with the law enforcement forces to counter and root out terrorism, and to report immediately on any elements that threaten the security and stability of the country. God save Egypt and its people... and peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and Blessings.
In statement No. 2 on the comprehensive anti-terrorism operation, the spokesman of the armed forces, Chief Colonel Tamer Rifai, 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 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.