Egyptian soldiers in North Sinai - Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Defense website on Feb. 19, 2018
CAIRO – 22 February 2018: Areas that have been purged by the army in North Sinai as part of the major operation “Sinai 2018” are being rehabilitated into normal conditions, military spokesperson Tamer al-Refai said in a press conference Thursday.
Refai highlighted joint maritime drills by the Egyptian and French navy in the Red Sea, where the Egyptian helicopter carrier Mistral, frigates, rocket launchers and special navy forces and students are training as part of the “Cleopatra 2018” exercise Feb.20-23.
The drills include protecting maritime transport, searching suspect vessels, and the scenario of freeing an island, confronting any threat at sea.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian navy is playing its role in the “Sinai 2018” operation, protecting Egypt’s mining and oil resources, and is training on “unconventional” threatening scenarios above and underwater.
In North Sinai, Refai said updates on the operation are being communicated to the media via daily statements. He provided a wrap up of two weeks of the operation as follows:
A total of 71 terrorists have been killed and five have been arrested. On the other hand, seven members of the Armed Forces and police have been killed, Refai confirmed, offering his condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers. Six other soldiers have been injured.
Some 1,852 criminals or people suspected of assisting terrorists have been arrested. A large number of them have already been released after investigations proved them innocent, according to Refai.
The air forces destroyed 158 targets, while 413 have been destroyed by the artillery. A total of 1,282 terrorist hotbeds and stores have been cleared, as well as four “media and transmission” centers used by the terrorist groups.
Tons of drugs and explosives have been destroyed, as well as hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles used by the terrorists, Refai said.