Egyptian soldiers at the Rafiah border
Egyptian soldiers at the Rafiah borderIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Egypt's armed forces have seized a stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles in the Sinai, military spokesman Ahmed Ali said in a press conference on Sunday.

The spokesman also said the army will continue operations in Sinai until “terrorism” is defeated, according to a report in Al Arabiya.

“Egypt’s national security has been under a threat because of the situation in Sinai,” Ali declared, adding that security will be restored under a development plan in the region.

The Egyptian armed forces have launched large scale military operations against terrorists in Sinai in an attempt to suppress the insurgency which erupted in the peninsula after the army overthrew Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.

The military spokesman said the armed forces seized a stock of weapons in Sinai and arrested 309 people involved in recent violence. Two explosive devices under a control tower on the border with Gaza were also found, he said, according to Al Arabiya.

“We also seized military uniforms which were used by Hamas,” Ali said, adding that the army recently destroyed more than 154 tunnels on the border with Gaza.

He added that the military confiscated a number of munitions, including hand grenades bearing the stamp of the Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm.

He noted there was “cooperation between armed and terrorist organizations and their counterpart in the Gaza Strip.”

In addition to cracking down on Sinai terrorism, the interim Egyptian government has also been applying pressure on Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The Egyptian army has bombed smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, has created a buffer zone, and has battled terrorist “fishermen” who try to leave Gaza waters.

Egypt accuses Hamas, which enjoyed close relations with Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood of which it is an offshoot, of being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.

Hamas also denied Sunday’s accusations made by the Egyptian army's spokesman.

In a statement published on the information office website of the movement, the group described the claims as “lies and fabrications.”