Egypt is escalating its counterterrorism operations after a car bomb killed at least 15 security personnel in the North Sinai city of Arish on Saturday, the headlines of several local newspapers announced Monday.
In November 2015, security officials issued a statement declaring North Sinai was now under their control, thanks to the success of the military campaign Operation Martyr’s Rights. However, deadly attacks on military and police forces in the turbulent region have continued to occur in recent months.
Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar met with leading security officials on Monday to discuss tightening security in North Sinai. He also declared the perpetrators of Saturday’s bombing would be brought to justice in a statement published on the Interior Ministry’s Facebook page.
The state’s response to the attack will guarantee that such an event never occurs again, the minister continued. New regulations will include heightened cooperation with the Armed Forces in the area, as well as intensifying regular security campaigns in North Sinai to target “dangerous terrorist elements,” Abdel Ghaffar said.
Unconfirmed reports published in the privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper Monday claimed that in response to the bombing, a counterterrorism operation was conducted in Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah. The operation killed 10 purported militants, while four others were arrested and are being interrogated about the Saturday attack, Al-Shorouk claimed.
On Sunday, several members of Parliament issued a statement calling on Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to hold an exceptional session to discuss the Arish attack, said the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper. The MPs further announced they would issue new laws to help fight terrorism and its sources of funding.
In South Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh is also on high security alert as 27 ministers of defense from African and Arab countries convened in the Red Sea resort town on Monday for the Fifth Conference of Coast and Desert Defense Ministers, scheduled for March 22-25. The ministers plan to discuss the security situation and terrorism threats in the region.