Military operations taking place in Sinai since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July have resulted in 164 deaths and 592 arrests, as confirmed by a military source, state-owned Al-Ahram portal reported.
The source also announced that operations would undergo a shift in nature, becoming more preemptive and attacking perceived terrorist hubs before they are active. Additionally, military checkpoints will increase and Special Forces will operate in small groups to better enable them to snare “terrorists.”
Among those who have been arrested are 440 Egyptians, with the remainder from Palestine, Eritrea, America, Britain, Norway, Germany and Italy. This confirms that foreign elements have made Sinai a scene for their “Jihadist criminal operations,” the source added.
Although the military source referred to those killed and arrested in the crackdown as “terrorist and criminal elements,” a recent report on human trafficking in Sinai alleged that military operations in the peninsula are increasingly victimizing survivors of human trafficking, predominantly Eritreans upon release from their captors.
The report, released by the European External Policy Advisors — a Brussels-based center of expertise on EU external politics — states that 144 survivors of human trafficking have been arrested in Sinai since July.
Among those killed are 105 Egyptians, the source adds. An additional 173 people were injured in military operations.
There are currently six main terrorist groups in Sinai, which the source claims have united under the umbrella of the Ansar Beit al-Maqdes group, after many leading figures were killed or arrested.
Throughout this week, the military has announced the successfully killing of a number of leading figures of militant organizations.
Ever since the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi from power in July, alleged terrorist attacks have increased in Sinai, prompting a sustained military crackdown in the peninsula.