Egypt attacks Islamic forces
CAIRO — Egyptian helicopter gunships and tanks pounded suspected hideouts and weapon caches of Islamic militants on Saturday in the northern Sinai Peninsula in what locals say is the largest operation in the lawless region in years. Nine militants and two soldiers were killed during the raids, security officials said.
Officials say that the military is hunting hundreds of militants believed to be responsible for a series of attacks in the region they overran after the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The militants, the officials say, belong to a number of well-known al-Qaida-inspired groups that seek the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in northern Sinai, a region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Attacks in the region have increased following the July 3 military coup that toppled President Mohamed Morsy, an Islamist, prompting the military offensive.
Early Saturday, residents say they saw winding columns of trucks and armored vehicles pour into the area. Some said they had not seen soldiers on foot in their villages in decades. Communications were jammed for hours, as authorities seized control of two telephone exchanges.
Military helicopters hovered overhead in a dozen villages concentrated near two border towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweyid, security officials said. Airstrikes targeted shacks believed to be gathering points of militants, they said. Soldiers later stormed homes searching for suspected fighters.
“Successive strikes are aimed at causing paralysis of the militant groups and cutting communications between each other,” a security official said. “The offensive is carried out within a time frame where there will be periods of calm for intelligence before resuming once again.
“We aim for cleansing the whole region of militants and prevent them from coming back,” he added.
Other officials said two soldiers were killed in a nighttime attack by militants in the town of Sheikh Zuweyid in northern Sinai. The soldiers were there as part of the offensive.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly brief journalists.
In a statement, Army spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said nine suspected militants were killed on Saturday and nine others detained.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Israeli leader signals no quick end to Gaza conflict
- Iraq’s split into 3 states becomes a reality
- Obama, European leaders agree to new Russia sanctions
- Israeli PM warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza
- Pakistani mob attacks minority Muslims, suffocates 3 over Facebook rumor
- Libya torn by worst fighting since 2011 revolution
- Syrian casualties surge amid rise in attacks by Islamic State
- Peace Corps volunteers pulled from Kenya
- Taliban leader issues warning
- Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges
- 11 parents of abducted Nigerian girls die