Egyptian soldiers killed 11 terrorists in the Sinai and confiscated weapons, according to Egyptian television, quoted by Voice of Israel government radio.
The report, which also stated that 23 terrorists were captured, along with Israeli-made ammunition, was confirmed by the defense ministry. Only one day earlier, an Egyptian newspaper reported that President Mohammed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood party, secured a ceasefire agreement with terrorist leaders.
Cairo said Wednesday it will escalate its war on terror in the Sinai Peninsula, where Bedouin, Hamas and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists have exploited a vacuum of power and taken control of large areas.
After terrorists killed 16 Egyptian border guards in early August, Egypt began moving in tanks and aircraft, in violation of the 1979 Peace Treaty with Israel that prohibits a military buildup in the Sinai without Israeli approval.
Morsi has insisted that the deployment is in Israel’s interest because it is aimed at terrorists and not at a future military attack on Israel, which has bitter memories of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Egypt rolled its tanks into the Sinai and southern Israel while Syria attacked from the north.
The Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel from Gaza on the west to Eilat on the east, is fertile ground for Bedouin terrorists, many of whom have aligned with Hamas and Al Qaeda cells. They have been a source of smuggling of drugs, terrorists, weapons and migrant workers from Africa.
One tribe was reported to have handed over to the Egyptian army a large cache of weapons and ammunition on Sunday. The size of the arsenal in the Sinai was indicated by the Egyptian Interior Ministry’s announcement that it has seized more than 20,000 weapons over the past several months.