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Egypt army 'preparing for Sinai operation'
Published Sunday 07/07/2013 (updated) 09/07/2013 13:39
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egypt's army is preparing for a large-scale military operation in Sinai, an army official said Sunday, as forces sealed more smuggling tunnels along the Gaza border.

An Egyptian military official told Ma'an the army was preparing for a major operation in Sinai "to clean it up from terrorist and criminal cells."

The army official said "coordination is ongoing between the Egyptians and the Israelis to bring military vehicles, troops and jets into Sinai to fight terror."

The 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has imposed strict controls on deployments in the desert peninsula.

Egyptian soldiers seized seven boxes of ammunition at a tunnel opening in the al-Barahmeh neighborhood of Rafah on Sunday, the Egyptian official said, adding that the army had deployed to the area to stop infiltrators entering through tunnels.

Egyptian soldiers and armored vehicles have deployed heavily along the Gaza border for two weeks.

Egypt's army used sand to seal several smuggling tunnels along the border near the Brazil neighborhood on Sunday, a Ma'an reporter said.

The health ministry in Gaza warned Saturday that the tunnel closures had caused a fuel crisis that is affecting hospitals.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said hospitals' fuel reserve was down to 20 percent. Hospitals are using smaller generators to minimize fuel consumption, all-Qidra told Ma'an.

The Hamas-run government has appealed for help from the Arab, Islamic and international communities as well as the World Health Organization and human rights organizations, he added.

Meanwhile, Egypt has not informed Palestinian officials when it will reopen the Rafah crossing, the government in Gaza said Sunday. Due to Israel's blockade, Rafah crossing is the only terminal for most Palestinians in Gaza to leave the enclave.

Egypt's army closed the border terminal on Friday. Egyptian officials said the closure was due to unrest in Sinai following the army's ouster of President Mohamed Mursi.

Several Islamist militants have publicly threatened to carry out raids in reprisal for Mursi's dismissal on Wednesday.

On Sunday, militants blew up a gas pipeline in El-Arish, a day after gunmen killed a Coptic priest in the North Sinai city.

That came after armed supporters of Mursi had stormed the provincial headquarters in El-Arish and raised the black banner of Al-Qaeda-inspired militants on Friday night, an AFP correspondent said.

Also Friday, militants launched coordinated rocket and machine gun attacks on Egyptian army and police checkpoints in the Sinai, killing one soldier and wounding two others, Egyptian medical sources said.

A police station and a military intelligence building in the border town of Rafah also came under fire from rockets, security sources said.

The Israeli army said Tuesday that it had "authorized" the deployment of Egyptian military reinforcements in Sinai.

"The Egyptian military activity in the Sinai is coordinated with Israeli security elements and authorized at the most senior levels in Israel, in order to contend with security threats in the Sinai that pose a threat to both Israel and Egypt," the army said in a statement.
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1 ) LOL Egypt lost all control / over SINAI
07/07/2013 13:21
SINAI TODAY IS NOMANSLAND---TOTALLY IN THE HANDS OF PIRATES and other THUGS

2 ) really / USA
07/07/2013 19:00
Sounds like they are going to take it back from the thugs

3 ) USAUSA / USA
07/07/2013 19:01
The Bedouin in the Sinai do not even consider themselves Egyptian and the Egyptians don't consider them Egyptians either. The Egyptians who work on the red sea resorts or on the Med. are considered foreign occupiers but they don't enter the interior at all. If you ask any Bedouin over the age of 50, they will tell you openly they preferred Israeli rule but had no say in who is sovereign. Now they have Egyptian overlords and crazy Al-qaeda foreigners mixing among them.

4 ) david / US
07/07/2013 19:26
Did you mean "... along the border near the Israel neighborhood..." and not "... near the Brazil neighborhood..." ?

5 ) @ David / WB
07/07/2013 19:36
Brazil is a neighborhood east of Rafah in the Gaza Strip

6 ) @USAUSA aka zio jew / USA
08/07/2013 00:30
lying is favorite pastime for zio welfare jews....why don't you get a life squatter kosher trash?

7 ) Maureen / Australia
08/07/2013 00:30
Israel "authorized" the Egyptian military! Well who would have thunk it! How many U.S. military are also in the vacinity?

8 ) Fear media / Propaganda
08/07/2013 04:00
Black alqeada flag, people aren't dumb anymore alqeada is a fake and used to create fear. Black alqeada flag is not alqead's. it's an Islamic flag that's used worldwide by Muslims

9 ) SteveC1 / USA
08/07/2013 18:57
Israel is fully committed to doing whatever it can to help prevent anarchists and terrorists from attacking Egyptians. This should come as no surprise to anyone.

10 ) Umm Ali / Egypt
18/07/2013 22:52
Destroy the Takfir terrorists in Sinai please. We don't support their hopes and dreams for the Middle East. Thank you
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