Egypt Moves in Forces to Cleanse Sinai of Terrorists

The media shifts its coverage from the terrorist attack in Rafah to reports of serial electricity blackouts.

More Egyptian Army forces have arrived in El Arish in northern Sinai as part of the operation to cleanse the Sinai Peninsula of terrorists, Egyptian TV reported on Thursday afternoon. The army convoys, which include armored vehicles, tanks and mortars, will aid the forces already active in southern El Arish, Sheikh Zayed and the Egyptian side of the town of Rafah, an Egyptian defense spokesman said.

The army is continuing the operation with the support of Apache helicopters and has crushed the terrorists, a senior Egyptian officer reported from northern Sinai. The operation will continue over the next few days, he said.

Meanwhile, the army is also continuing to seal tunnels in Rafah on the Egyptian border with Gaza, with the first operations being carried out in tunnels that are relatively distant from resident buildings, according to the reports. The heavy engineering equipment for the operation is being supplied by the army’s engineering corps.

Meanwhile, the media’s attention has shifted from coverage of the weekend terrorist attack in Rafah, which claimed the lives of 16 Egyptian border guards, to reports of serial electricity blackouts in several districts, including Cairo, the Delta area and southern Egypt. The blackouts caused serious disruption in the Cairo transport system, especially the metro lines, and passengers abandoned their cars. It also disrupted trading on the Egyptian stock exchange, automated teller machines and bank services, as well as many other public services.

Among the reasons for the blackouts were the many improvised connections to the electricity grid and the overload caused by heavy use of electrical devices due to the heat and the Ramadan fast, Energy Minister Mohammed Balba said.