The Egyptian army has announced the expansion of its military operations in the Sinai Peninsula, saying that the results are satisfactory but that it will continue until it achieves its objectives. “We will be more proactive,” said spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali. He displayed some of the equipment and uniforms which, he said, the army has found in Sinai. Some of the uniforms on show bore the logo of the Hamas military wing.
Justifying the army’s campaign, Ali pointed out that one military observation tower on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border was found to be wired-up with explosives which could be detonated from the Palestinian side. He also showed photographs of detainees who are, he claimed, Palestinians from the Gaza Strip along with members of the Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank.
Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded by the Egyptian army during its operations in Sinai, which started in July. Hundreds more have been arrested.
Colonel Ali called on the Hamas government in Gaza to cooperate with the army to secure the border area against “terrorist extremist groups” operating in the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptians are preparing a buffer zone of between 500m and 1km deep along the border with the Gaza Strip.
Media outlets in Egypt have been waging a propaganda campaign against Hamas, accusing the Islamic Resistance Movement of sending armed groups across the border to violate Egyptian sovereignty. The accusation has been denied vehemently by the Hamas government.