Now, armored forces commander Major-General Hamdi Othman has declared the operation a success. “Our forces have taken control of all of Sinai,” he announced.
The Sinai region began to slide toward tribal rule following the ouster of then-President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Terrorist organizations increasingly gained a foothold as well.
"Bin Laden aide" arrested
Egyptian military sources say the army has arrested an aide to slain arch-terrorist Osama Bin-Laden, as well as 500 Hamas terrorists who were operating in the region.
Egyptian commando units reportedly seized the Jabal Khalil stronghold in northern Sinai and arrested 40 armed terrorists there. For the first time, terrorists used mortar shells against the Egyptian army.
Egyptian news agencies reported Sunday that military helicopters had brought reinforcements to the Sinai region, suggesting that the operation continues despite Othman’s optimistic assessment.
Arab news outlets have reported that 30,000 Egyptian soldiers are currently operating in Sinai. Among them are a commando unit, a paratroopers unit, and an artillery unit. Several military helicopters have been used as well.
Last week Israel approved a request by the Egyptian army to bring two more infantry battallions into Sinai – a move that if unauthorized would constitute a violation of the peace deal between the two countries.