Egypt’s military says 89 insurgents killed in North Sinai

The armed forces have also intensified patrolling of western and southern borders because of increased terrorist activity

Military vehicles take part in the Arab Shield military exercises in the Matrouh Governorate Mohamed Naguib miilitary base, northwest of the capital Cairo on November 15, 2018. - Forces from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan are taking part in the maneuvers. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
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Egypt’s armed forces have killed 89 extremist militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula and seized and destroyed bombs, weapons, vehicles and electronic equipment.

The military recovered more than 400 explosive devices, many of them already armed and laid along roads, the armed forces said on Sunday.

It said the military had been conducting anti-terrorism operations on the country’s western and southern borders with Libya and Sudan, which have been battling their own insurgencies in recent weeks.

The statement did not specify a timeframe for the killings, but the last update from the military was in December 2020.

The Egyptian air force and the border patrol divisions worked together to destroy 200 four-wheel-drive vehicles that were trying to enter Egypt through these borders. Many were loaded with weapons and ammunition, the armed forces said.

Naval forces stepped up operations along Egypt’s Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts in a campaign aimed at “protecting strategic objectives and securing Egyptian economic interests”.

In the Sinai, where terrorist activity soared after the removal of Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in 2013, military engineers and border patrol officers found and destroyed 13 secret tunnels used by militants.

The armed forces’ statement did not give a time frame for these operations, but its previous update on the campaign against militant activities in the region was issued in December last year.

It said 73 automatic rifles, 140 ammunition magazines and 5,606 multi-calibre bullets were seized and destroyed, as were 34 wireless devices, a drone equipped with a camera and night vision, 52 vehicles and 59 motorcycles. A laptop, mobile phones and a large sum of cash were also recovered.

Eight military officers died during the operations.

The military has intensified efforts to combat the growing of narcotics in the South Sinai province, which has many cannabis and poppy fields.

Sunday’s statement revealed that 842 cannabis farms were seized in South Sinai in the latest round of operations, in addition to 1,114 poppy plantations.

Militant activity in the Sinai has abated since 2017 amid stricter security measures enforced by the military at the behest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Mr El Sisi has been quite vocal in denouncing the destabilising influence of terrorist insurgencies, especially ones carried out by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated terrorist cells, some of which have carried out operations on Egyptian soil.

Updated: August 01, 2021, 4:36 PM