On February 9, the Egyptian Army launched a large military operation against “terrorist and criminal elements and organizations” in the Sinai peninsula and other parts of the country. The operation covers the areas of Sinai, the Delta and the Western Desert.
“The law enforcement forces began this morning implementing the comprehensive confrontation against the terrorist and criminal elements and organizations in northern and central Sinai,” a spokesman for the army, Colonel Tamer al-Rifai, said in a statement. The official added that the goal was to “tighten control on the country’s borders and . . . clean up terrorist hotspots and immunise Egyptian society against the evils of terrorism and extremism.”
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the army a three-month deadline at the end of November to clear the Sinai from militants. The move was a response to a terrorist attack attack at a mosque in northern Sinai. The attack killed over 300 people and was the worst single terrorist act in the country’s history.