War on terrorism in Western Desert, but what about Sinai?
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The military spokesperson declared the elimination of an alleged terrorist cell in the Western Desert on Tuesday, based on intelligence the group was planning attacks on state institutions and foreign bodies during the upcoming holiday.

 

Spokesperson Mohamed Samir declared the death of 10 militants, who were reportedly part of an “extremely dangerous terrorist cell” planning attacks during Eid al-Adha.

 

A new armed group was reportedly launched on July 25 in the Western Desert by former military officer Hesham Ashmawy, who defected from the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes (now Province of Sinai) after they pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014.

 

Ashmawy pledged his alliance to Al-Qaeda instead, in a recording to launch Al-Murabitoun (meaning to remain steadfast to the resistance).

 

A tourist convoy of Mexicans and Egyptians was caught in the crossfire between the Egyptian military and militants in the Western Desert last week, when the Armed Forces bombed the convoy from the air, killing eight Mexicans and four Egyptians.

 

This week, Province of Sinai assumed responsibility for the deaths of two high-ranking police officers amid an intensive military operation, “The right of the martyr,” targeting militant groups in the peninsula. Non-Egyptian news outlets, however, were the only ones to report this.

The Interior Ministry reported the assassination of Brigadier General Ahmed Abdel Satar on its official Facebook page. The high-ranking officer was targeted near a police station in Arish, North Sinai. A similar incident occurred on Wednesday, when police general Khaled Othman, was shot dead at a checkpoint in Arish.

 

The Armed Forces announced that in the first 11 days of its Sinai operation, 438 “terrorists” were killed and 462 suspects arrested. The military spokesperson has added daily updates on the operation to the Armed Forces’ official Facebook page.

 

But the updates published by the spokesperson have been the only source of news regarding this operation, with no confirmation or contestation of his claims, or any information as to how civilians in the area have been affected.

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