Egypt army readies to target Sinai extremists
The Egyptian armed forces are preparing to conduct a military operation against extremists in the Sinai Peninsula, following some of the worst anti-state violence since President Mohammad Mursi was overthrown last year, a military source told a local newspaper on Thursday.
For the operation, which is reportedly due to start soon, a military deployment has arrived from the Egyptian capital, the source told Cairo-based daily Youm 7.
Meanwhile, Egypt is continuing to establish a buffer zone, clearing residents from its border with the Gaza Strip after an announcement from Cairo made the eviction official.
Many in the area had already packed their belongings and begun to leave following the announcement, the newspaper reported.
Gen. Abdel Fattah Harhour, the governor of the increasingly lawless northern Sinai region, told journalists the departing residents would be compensated for their lost homes.
Each displaced family is due to receive 900 Egyptian pounds ($125) to help pay for three months’ rent elsewhere, while compensation for lost property is being calculated.
Egypt declared a state of emergency in the border area after at least 33 security personnel were killed on Friday in two attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, a remote but strategic region bordering Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal.
No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack but similar operations have been claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in the past, Egypt’s most active Sinai-based Sunni militant group.
Militant attacks in Sinai have increased since Mursi’s overthrow. The Brotherhood, which says it is a peaceful movement, has distanced itself from the violence and condemned Friday’s attack.