Operations in Sinai against militancy are ongoing, as military spokesperson Tamer El-Refaei announced on Tuesday that three alleged militants were killed in Central and North Sinai, while two civilians were killed.
The office of the military spokesperson told Daily News Egypt that the two civilians lost their lives suffering injuries from IED (improvised explosive devices) explosions. It also added that 59 suspects were arrested, during the various operations, while one conscript was injured.
The security forces have targeted several terror targets, such as 285 dens and hideouts, as well as a number of tunnels. The armed forces also destroyed 12 vehicles that were set to target the security forces, and also found amounts of various firearms and ammunition.
On 9 February, Egypt’s security forces launched the extensive military operation in Sinai dubbed Sinai 2018. The operation includes navy, air, and infantry forces. It aims to target “dens and ammunition storages that are being used by terrorist elements,” according to a previous statement from the armed forces.
In the same context, on Monday, curfew hours imposed by the state in North Sinai have been extended until the end of the state of emergency that was declared recently. The curfew begins at 7:00 pm and ends at 6:00 am the next morning, except in Al-Arish and Arish-Rafah International Road, where it begins at 1:00 am and ends at 5:00 am.
The Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly extended the curfew imposed on certain parts of the governorate of North Sinai, according to the official gazette.
Egypt is currently battling several armed groups, concentrated mainly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the ouster of Islamist former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Since then, shootings that target security personnel and state officials have become a near-weekly occurrence in Egypt.
Since then, state security forces have been engaged in violent clashes with Sinai Province, a militant group previously known as “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis” affiliated with the Islamic State militant group.
In November 2017, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi vowed to restore stability by eradicating terrorism, placing the military and police in charge of completing the task within a period of three months. This had followed a massive first-of-its-kind terror attack on a mosque in the city of Al-Arish, which killed at least 305 citizens.