Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Egypt Raises Security Alert following Terrorist Attacks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Egyptian policeman at a post on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula February 10, 2016. (Reuters)

Cairo – Egyptian security forces increased its security measures during the last few hours in an attempt to end the series of terrorist attacks inflicting the country over the past couple of weeks.

Egyptian army killed on Sunday nine militants which it described as “extremely dangerous” in central Sinai and destroyed a number of ammunition storehouses belonging to them.

In response, Minister of Interior Magdy Abdul Ghaffar ordered his aides to increase their security measures especially around churches and public facilities and areas.

Dozens of soldiers, police officers and foreigners were killed and injured during the past few days during terrorist attacks at resorts in the north of Sinai, al-Giza and al-Ghardaqah. The attacks occurred as Egypt has a declared state of emergency since last April.

A highly informed security commander told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the increase in terrorist attacks in the country recently is due to Egypt’s boycott of relations with Qatar.

He added that terrorist groups increased their attacks after Qatar and its relations with these groups have been exposed. Recent investigations with terrorists apprehended revealed they have contact with Doha.

Earlier last month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain cut their ties with Doha for supporting and financing extremists organizations in the region, primarily the “banned” Muslim Brotherhood.

Dozens of people had been enrolled on the list of terrorists for their relations with Qatar.

Armed Forces Spokesman Tamer al-Rifai said that the forces killed three militants and arrested another, in addition to destroying a vehicle and five depots containing ammunition and explosives, in central Sinai.

He added that the troops of field army forces managed to destroy a vehicle loaded with large amounts of explosives and killed six armed extremists at a mountainous area in central Sinai.

On Egypt’s western border with Libya, warplanes attacked and destroyed 15 four-wheel-drive vehicles carrying weapons, ammunition, and contraband.

The Egyptian air forces destroyed on Sunday the 15 vehicles before they infiltrated into Egypt, raising the number of such destroyed vehicles since May to 42. The air strikes took place following intelligence revealed that criminal subjects were gathering to sneak into Egypt.

Cairo Security Chief Khaled Abdel Aal made on Sunday surprise inspection visits to several churches in the Egyptian capital, included the tour of Cathedral in Abassia, ordering maximum security to prevent possible terror attacks.

Aal inspected the security measures taken to protect the churches and deployed security forces around Cairo.

Aal mandated bomb disposal experts to continuously comb the areas around churches across Cairo to achieve the highest level of security. He also ordered the Rapid Deployment Forces to go on patrols around the capital, and mandated the criminal investigation services to increase surveillance by using the cameras in churches.

In related news, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Lt-Gen Mahmoud Hijazi emphasized Sunday the importance of boosting coordination between his country and the US to support security and stability in the Middle East, and counter terrorism.

Egypt’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy made the remarks during a meeting with the Commanding General of US Army Central Michael Garrett, in which they discussed further military cooperation between the two countries.

Garett expressed his aspirations towards boosting joint work with Egypt at all levels to better serve the mutual interests of both nations.

Both sides also tackled cooperation including joint exercises, exchanging expertise and enhancing combat and technical capabilities of the armed forces.