The Egyptian army has captured six people it regards as "terrorists" in the Sinai, following this week’s attack on a police station that killed 16 border guards near the border with Israel, Reuters reported on Friday.
The report quoted a military source as having told state television that six militants had been captured in the Sheikh Zuwaid area, where on Wednesday Egyptian warplanes fired rockets at suspected militant hideouts.
Separately, an army official was quoted as having told the Al-Ahram newspaper that preparations were underway to raid the mountainous Jebel El Halal region in Central Sinai in order to purge it of terrorist elements.
A witness told Reuters that several army tanks were heading towards al-Arish on Friday, the main administrative center in North Sinai.
More army reinforcements, including troops and tanks, had been sent to Arish on Friday, Al-Ahram reported.
On Thursday, residents of Al Arish reported that the Egyptian military has sent reinforcements of "unprecedented" size into the peninsula. The forces reportedly include 60 tanks on 30 tank-transporters, 12 armored personnel carriers, 15 additional armored vehicles, more than 20 armored jeeps and 10 Military Police jeeps.
The Israeli Cabinet voted on Thursday to approve an Egyptian request to send in helicopters to the Sinai Peninsula. The approval was given for a period of several days and allows five aircraft to enter the region. The move is designed to assist Egypt in its military operation against terrorist elements in the Sinai.
Under the peace agreements signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, the Sinai Peninsula is to be a demilitarized zone and Israeli approval is required for Egypt to send in military forces to the region.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who took office in June, has vowed to avenge the deaths of the 16 soldiers who were killed in Sunday night’s terror attack.
Reuters reported that Morsi arrived in al-Arish on Friday to assess the security situation. He was accompanied by Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Sami Enan, the chief-of-staff of the armed forces.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)