Egypt army launches large-scale Sinai operation
Published Saturday 07/09/2013 (updated) 08/09/2013 12:46
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egypt's army on Saturday launched a wide-scale military operation targeting the strongholds of armed groups operating in North Sinai, Egyptian military sources said.
The Egyptian force "could be the biggest in Egypt's modern history to join such domestic operation," a military official told Ma'an.
They will target gunmen in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, he added.
Witnesses said a huge convoy of military tanks, missile launchers and troop carriers left el-Arish for Sheikh Zuweid at around 6.30 a.m.
The forces surrounded al-Qurea and al-Thahir villages as 10 military helicopters hovered overhead. Clouds of smoke could be seen rising from the villages.
Egyptian forces plan to "clean all the villages in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid area from dangerous terrorists," an Egyptian security official said.
Security checkpoints are on alert to prevent any wanted people escaping during the operation, he added.