'Foreign nationals' among 400 arrested in Egypt anti-IS operation: state TV
The Egyptian army killed ten jihadists and arrested 400 more during an anti-terror operation targeting the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday. A report by Egyptian state television said that “foreign nationals” were among those arrested.
The raid came as part of a major operation announced by the Egyptian army on Friday, targeting the heart of a persistent Islamic State group insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula and Nile Delta.
The goal of the operation, the army said, is to tighten control of border districts and "clean up areas where there are terrorist hotbeds.”
As part of its crackdown on Sinai’s borders, the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip was closed as the operation was launched.
Egypt has been waging a military campaign against jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
A report by the New York Times last Saturday said that Israel has carried out more than 100 air strikes against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Sinai with Cairo's approval.
Egypt has denied the report.
In an interview with i24NEWS last week, former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency Yaakov Peri said that the report seemed “logical” and explained that the situation in Sinai is sensitive to both Egypt and Israel due to the fact that it is a key access route for smuggling Iranian ammunition from Sudan into both Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
“It’s the line between Sudan and the Gaza Strip to smuggle ammunition from Iran. Through Sudan, through Sinai Peninsula, to the Gaza Strip,” Peri said. “Israel has an interest to help Egypt and to protect itself.”
In November, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is seeking re-election in polls next month, ordered the armed forces chief of staff to restore security in Sinai within three months after militants killed more than 300 worshipers at a mosque.
Jihadists have also attacked tourists, killing all 224 on board a Russian plane carrying holidaymakers in 2015.
AFP contributed to this report.
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