Operation Sinai 2018: Egypt’s military hammers militants before election

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Operation Sinai 2018: Egypt’s military hammers militants before election

Weeks before presidential elections in Egypt, a massive security operation is underway in Egypt’s Sinai. Authorities say 16 militants have been killed and dozens detained. CGTN’s Adel El-Mahrouky reports from Cairo.

From the air, sea and land, the Egyptian Armed Forces unleashed all its might. Since Friday, new pieces of military hardware have been used to launch continuous attacks against militant hideouts and weapons warehouses, in what has been branded “Operation Sinai 2018.”

The operation comes less than two months before presidential elections in March. Officials are calling this their biggest military operation against terrorism.

“Since 2011, we’ve witnessed many military operations against terrorism. This, however, is the first comprehensive operation,” according to Salah Al Balouk, a political analyst with Al Watan News. “It’s like a state of war, real war.”

The Army says it is a nationwide military operation focusing on Central and North Sinai, which are strong hold areas for militant groups such as ISIL.

Al Balouk says 70 days have passed since President Sisi ordered a 90 day deadline for the termination of terrorism in the Sinai.

“The operation is also a response to all those who claimed that the Egyptian government don’t want or can’t eradicate terrorism. For almost two thirds of the deadline, the Army has been gathering information so it can avoid civilian injuries.”

On Sunday morning, the military said 66 militant hideouts have been targeted, 14 gunmen killed and 34 suspects arrested. Additionally, 12 explosive devices were found and diffused, according to the military.

With the presidential election just weeks away, some critics see Operation Sinai 2018 as a government propaganda effort. Security analysts argue it aims to secure the election.

In any case, experts agree that it must be followed by comprehensive development in the Sinai, which is needed to put a real end to the insurgency.

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