FILE: The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
CAIRO – 7 June 2019: Egypt security forces have been on high alert to hunt down terrorists responsible for the killing of eight police officers in a checkpoint in northern Sinai.
The militants launched an assault on a security checkpoint early on Wednesday as Egypt marked the Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr.
The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Five militants were also killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, while others escaped, to be later pursued by security forces.
An IS affiliate called Sinai Province has killed hundreds of security personnel in attacks since the military overthrew Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
In February 2018, three months after gunmen killed more than 300 worshipers at a mosuqe in Sinai, the military launched a major campaign to eradicate the county of terrorism existence.
Security forces managed to foil a terrorist attack on a security checkpoint in North Sinai, a security source said on Friday.
However, efforts did not just stop at that, as meanwhile, security forces managed to hunt down and neutralize eight terrorists who immediately started a heavy shootout after being ambushed in an olive farm in the desert area in Obour region southern al-Arish City.
A statement by the Ministry of Interior said security forces were tipped information about the hideout of some terrorists inside an olive farm in the desert area in Obour region southern al-Arish City.
"While the militants were being surrounded, they opened fire extensively towards the forces. They were engaged resulting in the death of eight terrorist elements," the statement said.
Five automatic weapons, an explosives device and two suicide belts were found in the terrorists’ possession.
Egyptian Ministry of Interior said in a press statement on early Thursday that it has managed to locate the suspects involved in Arish checkpoint attack on Wednesday.
The statement said that the security forces traced the perpetrators and found them residing in an abandoned house in a wasteland near Arish police station.
The terrorist militants opened fire once they found out they are under siege by security forces.
The fire exchange left 14 terrorists killed, and 14 machine guns, 3 detonators, and explosive belts were confiscated.
A number of Arab countries condemned the terrorist attack; President Sisi who has announced war against terrorism even before he assumed post as president in 2014, said in May that the "war against terrorism did not and will not end before we retaliate for every martyr who died for the sake of their homeland."
Since 2013, Egypt has witnessed numerous terrorist attacks, mainly by the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province militant group, which have led to the death of hundreds of policemen, army troops and civilians during attacks on security checkpoints, churches and recently a mosque.
Year 2013 marks the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi and the death of dozens of policemen and hundreds of Morsi supporters during the dispersal of pro-Morsi protests in Al-Nahda and Rabaa Al-Adaweya squares. The two parties hold each other responsible for the violence.
In February 2018, under the title "Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018", Egypt's Armed Forces launched a comprehensive military operation targeting the hotbeds of terrorists especially in Northern and Central Sinai. Despite announcing the death of dozens of terrorists from time to time since then, the army has not yet announced the end of the battle.