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Egypt army thwarts militant attempt to cross Libyan border

July 17, 2017 at 3:38 am

Egyptian army tank, 10 July 2017 [SSGT Jeffrey T. Brady, USAF/Wikipedia]

Egypt’s army forces foiled yesterday a militant attempt to cross into the country through its western border with Libya, the Istanbul-based Anadolu Agency reported, quoting a military statement.

Colonel Tamer Al-Refaei, the army’s spokesperson, said on his Facebook that the Egyptian air forces has launched a reconnaissance mission following intelligence reports that “criminal elements” in a set of four-wheel drive vehicles were trying to cross the country’s western boarders.

The military operation, which came as part of the army efforts to secure borders from all strategic fronts, has resulted in the destruction of 15 vehicles “laden with weapons, explosives, ammunition and other smuggled items,” according to the statement.

The army troops, he noted, are still chasing other “criminal elements” in Egypt’s western desert.

Read: What is Libya’s role in the terrorism that’s hit Egypt?

The statement did not reveal details about the bodies of the smugglers or the death toll.

The Egyptian-Libyan border has been a source of serious concern to the authorities. The army has been carrying out hunting operations to stop any attempts of infiltration or smuggling of weapons by militants.

This is the second time in nearly three weeks for the Egyptian army to launch  air strikes against targets it says are “hostile to its country.”

Libya has been in a state of political division and security chaos since the ouster of former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian defence ministry announced yesterday that the field army, in cooperation with the air forces and other security forces, destroyed a terrorist hideout in central Sinai Peninsula and killed six “Takfiri elements” after hitting their vehicle that was laden with explosives.

In a similar context, the Egyptian army has also announced the killing of three “terrorists” during recent military raids in Sinai.

Egypt security forces have been battling militant groups for several years in North Sinai, during which hundreds of what the Egyptian authorities call “Takfiri elements” were killed. Several Egyptian security personnel were also killed during the military operations.