CAIRO: Egyptian security forces killed 10 militants in a “pre-emptive strike” against extremist strongholds in the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday.
Police said they raided an abandoned farm near El-Arish after receiving intelligence that militants had taken shelter there and planned to carry out attacks.
All the militants were killed in the raid and police retrieved two machine guns, two cartridges, three improvised explosive devices and a large amount of ammunition.
The operation was part of an extended military campaign by Egypt against militants in Sinai and to secure the country’s western and southern borders.
The offensive, which involves both police and army units, was launched in February by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after a series of attacks including a mosque bombing that killed more than 300 people.
Tuesday’s operation came after another on Oct. 1 with a raid on a training camp in El-Arish housing 15 terrorists, all of whom were killed in an exchange of fire.
Investigations revealed that the group was planning to carry out attacks related to the October 6 celebrations of Egypt’s victory over Israel in 1973.
“The conflict between Egypt and the terrorist organizations is not just a local conflict,” said Zakaria Salem, an expert in the fight against international terrorism.
He added that previously missions and raids were just in reaction to terrorist attacks, but now the security forces have moved onto pre-emptive strikes to prevent operations
Salem said this was down to the extent of the operation since February, which involves a lot of monitoring and reconnaissance.
On the importance of pre-emptive strikes, Major General Majdi Al-Bassiouni, a security expert, said the strikes launched by the police forces are also a strong indicator of the security sense of the Egyptian intelligence forces.
“Had it not been for investigations and information obtained by the police, raids of this level would not have been possible,” Al-Bassiouni said.
“The terrorist cell raided today as well as the other at the beginning of the month only had light low quality weapons, which meant that their funding has been paralyzed and has begun to die. This is thanks to border guards seizing arms and preventing them from reaching terrorists.”