Egypt reports major success in Sinai Peninsula terrorism crackdown

Egypt reports major success in Sinai Peninsula terrorism crackdown

Egypt reports major success in Sinai Peninsula terrorism crackdown

A major operation was launched on Friday with Egyptian ground, air and naval forces along with border guards and police on the hunt - possibly with the help of Israel.

The army also said that 30 suspected terrorists were arrested.

Following the mosque attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered the army to restore security and stability in North Sinai within three months.

The growing military cooperation between Israel and Egypt has always been rumored and in June, Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) noted that if the frequent claims of anti-terror coordination were accurate it would show "the level of trust between the nations has reached the point where Israel is providing various military, technological and operational intelligence to Egypt and is operating attack UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in Sinai with Cairo's approval".

A spokesman said they found a communication centre, an explosives laboratory and six drug farms.

Egypt denied this, and Israel declined to comment.

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Last week the New York Times reported that unmarked Israeli aircraft were carrying out covert strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval.

Its second and third phases began in January and April 2016, respectively, while the fourth phase started In August 2017, 10 days after 26 Egyptian security personnel were killed in an attack the North Sinai city of Rafah.

Formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the group first appeared in September 2011 and rebranded itself with an IS pledge of allegiance in November 2014. The attack was said to be the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt's modern history.

The head of the IS religious police in Sinai had previously said that Sufis who did not "repent" would be killed.

In November past year, militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshippers as they fled, killing at least 305 people and wounding at least 128 others.

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