12 militants killed in North Sinai shootout with army
By Mohammed Mahmoud in Cairo
Egyptian forces killed 12 militants in an exchange of fire in North Sinai's al-Arish last Thursday (November 22nd), Egypt's Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The National Security Agency had received information that a group of extremists were using an abandoned yard in al-Arish as a hideout, and a shootout broke out when security forces attempted to conduct a raid on the hideout, Ahram Online reported.
Seven suspects were killed in the raid while five others who were attempting to flee on the ring road highway were killed in a shootout with security forces.
Firearms, ammunition and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found in the militants' possession.
In a separate incident, security forces on November 12th thwarted a terror attack targeting a checkpoint on the ring road in al-Arish, killing a suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest before he could blow himself up.
The raids are part of the comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018, a counter-terrorism campaign that involves the army, navy, air force and police.
The operation was launched in February to target "terrorist and criminal elements and organisations" in north and central Sinai, parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert.
'Sophisticated intelligence policies'
"The comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy which the government is implementing with the support of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has recently made tangible successes on the ground," Egyptian MP Nader Mostafa told Al-Mashareq.
The successful security operations are the result of sophisticated intelligence policies, strong co-ordination between all agencies and co-operation with the local population, he said.
"The pre-emptive strikes are based on accurate intelligence about the whereabouts of terrorists and their movements," he added.
They have largely helped to restore calm to the country and eliminate the remnants of terrorist groups, Mostafa said.
"Life has returned to normal... thanks to the provision of daily needs [to Sinai residents] by all ministries," he said, noting that the government also is providing support to government departments in North and Central Sinai for the implementation of major developmental and residential projects in the area.