The Egyptian Army crackdown, dubbed Operation Eagle, was said to include
hundreds of armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said the operation was led by hundreds of commandos in such cities
as El Arish as
well as the border towns of Rafah and Sheik Zawiyed.
Egypt has been under pressure from Israel and the United States to halt
insurgency strikes in Sinai. In 2011, Bedouin fighters linked to Al Qaida
attacked the Arab Gas Pipeline, which supplies Israel and Jordan, at least
five times. Nobody has been arrested.
Egypt's state-owned daily Al Ahram said Operation Eagle was imminent and
would include a large number of military and security forces. On Aug. 13, Al
Ahram said the offensive would target the insurgency cells that have been
blowing up the gas pipeline as well as other infrastructure in Sinai.
Egypt's media have reported the deployment of dozens of U.S.-origin main
battle tanks and armored personnel carriers in northern Sinai. Armored
convoys were said to have entered Sinai on Aug. 12 as security measures were
imposed on the Suez Canal.
So far, the military regime has deployed more than 2,000 police and
security forces in El Arish, the focus of Al Qaida-aligned attacks. Another
1,000 troops were sent to search for insurgents in central and eastern
Sinai. On July 30, at least six people were killed in an attack by 100
gunmen on the police headquarters in the capital of the North Sinai
"They [2,000 troops] would reinforce security around state security
buildings and not be sent on combat missions in the mountains," North Sinai
Gov. Brig. Gen. Abdul Wahab Mabrouk said.