Six 'takfiris' killed in past week of Operation Sinai 2018: Egypt Armed Forces

Al Ahram

Six "takfiris" were killed by the Egyptian army during two separate counter-terrorism raids in North Sinai during the past week, with one army officer and one soldier killed in ongoing security operations, the military said on Sunday. In one raid, an army unit destroyed a terrorist hideout, killing one takfiri in an exchange of fire, army spokesperson Colonel Tamer El-Rifaie said on his official Facebook page. Weapons and ammunition were found in the hideout, he added.

In a second raid, Egypt's Second Army Division led a military operation in North Sinai that resulted in the killing of another five terrorists in an exchange of fire, the military said. No details were given of the circumstances under which the two army personnel died, nor any information on their identities. In a video published by El-Refaie, the military provided updates on its ongoing Operation Sinai 2018 counter-terrorism effort, which was launched on 9 February.

The operation targets "terrorist and criminal elements and organisations" in northern and central Sinai, as well as parts of the Nile Delta and the Western Desert, the army said at the start of the operation. Sunday's updates, which consitute the military's 17th communiqué on the operation, included news of Egyptian air force raids that destroyed a number of hideouts and other structures used by takfiri militants in North Sinai governorate.

The Arabic word "takfiri" refers to extremist Sunni Muslims who accuse other Muslims and followers of other religions of being infidels, often as a justification for using violence against them. The latest communiqué also said that army engineers in North Sinai had discovered and detonated 136 improvised explosion devices in the past week. The armed forces also managed to destroy takfiri 930 structures, including hideouts, shelters and warehouses containing explosive materials.

According to the communiqué, a total of 513 suspected criminals and fugitives were arrested. The border guards and police forces manned more than 600 joint checkpoints on the main highways and the desert roads in North Sinai. The borders guards also discovered and destroyed a tunnel in the border city of Rafah used to smuggle narcotics.

Security and military forces destroyed 84 farms used to produce hashish and marijuana in Central Sinai, according to the communiqué. On the Egypt's Western borders with Libya, meanwhile, the Egyptian army stopped an attempt to smuggle a huge quantity of narcotics. The border guards also prevented 169 people of different nationalities crossing Egypt's borders illegally.

Along the southern borders with Sudan, the border guards also arrested people smuggling both drugs and gold.