Egyptian Army Expanded Operations in Sinai

CAIRO ,(ST)_Egyptian military sources announced that the Egyptian army expanded its  security operations in North Sinai in  cooperation with the police to tighten security control of the Sinai and the face of the criminal elements.

The sources said in an exclusive statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm Friday that the security operation in Sinai has not been suspended, but has rather been expanded after coordination with Palestinian security forces.

The Egyptian Air Force flew above the border with Gaza to comb the area and monitor outlaws, the sources added.

The Second Field Army, border guards, and commandos are taking part in the operation.

The sources said that there is complete coordination with the Interior Ministry in North Sinai and members of the National Security Agency.

The sources said that the security operation has been expanded to include other criminal outposts using the latest means of tracking and surveillance. They added that the majority of outlaws are centered near the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The armed forces are targeting elements that are a threat to Egypt's national security, elements that have attacked the police and the armed forces in recent days.

Sinai will be cleansed of the largest possible number of Jihadist elements in the near future in order to allow the region to develop economically, the sources said.

Meantime,  Egypt geared up for another day of protests Friday as the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi  amid a widening crackdown on the Brotherhood, and as Reuters reported that Egypt's interim prime minister expressed the hope that a new government would be sworn in by the end of next week.

Morsi supporters have taken to the streets for over a week, vowing not to back down on calls that he return to the presidential post to which he was democratically elected. The Brotherhood says it is defending democracy against "military coup tyranny."

The struggle between the military and the Brotherhood escalated in the early hours of Monday morning when more than 50 people were killed. Security forces opened fire on pro-Morsi demonstrators outside a Republic Guard facility in Cairo's Nasr City.

Head of the High Constitutional Court Adly Mansour was sworn in as the interim president and this week Hazem El-Beblawi was named prime minister. Mansour issued a constitutional declaration that will serve as the country's ruling document until a new constitution is in place. Parliamentary and presidential elections are expected to take place by next spring.

Meanwhile, Egypt's interim leaders are moving forward with the transition plan and are working to form a new cabinet.

Some opposition political groups are also planning for a mass gathering Friday. Egypt's Tamarod — or rebel — movement, which planned the mass protests against Morsi on June 30, is calling for Egyptians to break fast together in Tahrir Square at sunset in an effort to overcome political divides, local news media reported.

T. Fateh