The operation Sinai 2018 is an expanded large-Scale military operation considered as the latest military operation in the Timeline of Egypt’s Counter-Terrorism offensives in The Sinai Peninsula,The Egyptian armed forces Command announced it’s launch on 9th February2018 ,and it included the implementation of the plan of the comprehensive confrontation of elements and terrorist organizations and militants in the Sinai Peninsula and other areas and provinces of the Republic, especially areas adjacent to the western border with Libya and southern Sudan and active In these areas, where cells & group belong to terrorist organizations are active there well as the cells that have been active over the last few years, which follow al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, also smugglers who use the borders In order to ensure the smuggling of arms, ammunition and narcotics, which sometimes reach terrorist groups & organizations, and the measures taken recently in the Sinai 2018 comprehensive operation to secure the western and southern border areas are ideal measures for cutting off supply lines and cracking down on terrorist elements and smugglers. Support lines and strategic crossings that contribute to the infiltration of terrorist elements and the smuggling of arms and Ammunitions.
Reasons of Launching the Comprehensive Operation Sinai-2018 (COS-2018)
- The terrorist attack on a joint security campaign from the Central Security and National Security Sector in the Kilo-135 area of Bahriya oasis road in southern Giza Governorate on October 2017, The attack led to the killing of more than 16 policemen, including a brigadier general, and later resulted in the operations of the armed forces and the National Security Service to eliminate All the miltants of the terrorist cell that carried out the attack which was following to al-Qaeda Group and they received training in Derna city in Libya, Also a Joint forces of the unit 999th and the counter – terrorism forces of the National Security Agency that succeeded in liberating Cap. Mohammed Al-Hayes, who was kidnapped during the attack and the arrest of foriegn militant who was the only one from the cell to be still alive.
- In addition to this, the attack on al-Rawda mosque, which was classified as the largest terrorist attack since the declaration of the war on terror in Sinai in 2013, the attack led to the killing of more than 310 civilians and injury of hundreds of civilians.
- The various terrorist attacks targeting the development projects of the armed forces and factories of the armed forces in the Sinai Peninsula where the terrorist elements carried out a large-scale attacks & operations targeting of drivers and workers in the Arish cement Factory, Sebika Salt facilitate and other projects of the army forces in North Sinai in addition to the spread of Sinai province ambushes that were targeting soldiers & civilians on the international road between Arish – Bir Al Abd cities.
Actions taken by the General Command of the Armed Forces and the security services and the executive services of the State institutions to prepare for the comprehensive operation Sinai-2018
- Providing large number of The security and military check points/outposts in the cities of El-Arish / Sheikh Zuwaid / Rafah and some areas of central Sinai with Barriers and fortifactions from the Chinese-made Type Jesco, in addition to providing all points and military outposts in the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zwaid with Tow-2B Anti-tank Guided missiles, as well as night vision and surveillance divces in most of the border guards points, Also establishing large number of security and military Check points before the start of the comprehensive military operation
- Additional Formations & units deployed in The Sinai and on the western and southern side from Rapid deplyement Forces, Second and Third Army Units and ministry of interior Special Operations Forces, in addition to the 888 unit or group, which was formed by joint elements of the Ministry of the Interior and the Armed Forces, and the combat groups of the Central Security Forces, parachutes, border guards, The unit was formed and prepared to contribute to counterterrorism operations both internally and externally and is followed up by rapid intervention forces
- Completion of the expansion & development works in Bir-Gafagifa (Maleiz) airbase in central Sinai to accommodate new squads and combat units and groups of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, F16-Block 52 fighter Jets, which were the 1st time to deploy fighter jets for the EAF in the Sinai peninsula since 1967, due to some items under Camp David Agreement, Also the Reconnaissance & surveillance planes as Beechcraft-1900c aircraft & the AWACS E-2C plus large fleet of armed drones as Wing Loong,els and the ground attack aircraft AT-802
- Also The actions taken by the implementation Institutions in the (North /South Sinai, Suez, Ismailia, Port Said provinces) to prepare for the comprehensive operation Sinai-2018 and those procedures varied between raising the state of emergency in all hospitals and health facilities in the cities of those provinces, training on the evacuation procedures of government facilities, schools, Universities and the granting of leave for all basic and university educational stages Extended work in the establishment of the buffer zone in Rafah city on the border with Gaza strip, in conjunction with the end of the security authorities of Hamas in Gaza Strip Establish from establishing a 500 meter buffer zone inside the territories of the palestinian Rafah City, Also the reconnaissance and aerial surveys that have been implemented prior before the launch of the overall operation by various reconnaissance/Surveillance aircrafts, including AWACS aircraft and electronic warfare planes
- During the Sinai 2018 Comprehensive operation, there was a major strategic change in the military operations of the law enforcement forces from Both the Egyptian Armed Forces & The Security Forces.
As For the first time, the forces deployed large number from Paratroopers units (more than three battalions), & the deployment of a large number of units and groups of the Thunderbolts, and The Navy Special Forces which was the first time to be deployed in military counter-terrorism operations with such a large manner & number.
The Navy Special forces units involved in the operations were supported by light armored vehicles Nimar Ajban and RPG-33 MRAP vehicles, & they also used the Mistral LHD to conduct Amphibious landing off coasts of Arish city to deploy large groups of Naval Special Forces, Which is clearly demonstrating to us that the comprehensive military operation is not only for the purpose of combating terrorism and extremist activity, but to show the ability of the armed forces, especially the naval forces, to secure all the Egyptian coasts and protect the Gas fields And the Egyptian economical water, Also Showing how Egypt’s naval Forces can easily use all it’s newly marine vessels.
In addition to attract international agreement to support Egypt in its war on terror, & get internal support of Egyptian’s to the armed forces.
The Comprehensive Operation #Sinai 2018 has achieved many successes, including the decrease of the number of attacks and terrorist operations in addition to the number of civilian casualties in contrast to the previous military operations has witnessed the Sinai 2018 confrontation less by the armed elements and the army compared to previous military operations such as martyr right’s operation, One of the most significant successes achieved during the overall operation was cutting off of supply lines and logistical support for terrorist elements and extremist militants belonging to the Sinai state organization, as well as the elimination of the infrastructure of terrorist elements and the tightening of control over all roads and The Sinai Peninsula was also used to control petroleum, fuel, auto parts and agricultural chemicals in order to prevent their access to extremist armed elements. The discovery and destruction of dozens of trenches, oaks and terrorist sites used by armed elements to concentrate or to manufacture improvised explosive devices and explosives or to store weapons, ammunition and missiles. In order to achieve these successes, the army was able to find large amounts of Guided anti-Tank missiles which were used in the number Of the operations and terrorist attacks, including targeting the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter of the Minister of Defense and interior in Arish airport, & destroying a patrol boat for the Egyptian navy off the coast of Rafah in the year 2015.
Despite the great successes and huge results achieved during the comprehensive operation Sinai – 2018, the army and police forces Faced large losses & casualties that can not be denied, most of those losses during the explosion of IEDs or extend of fire with terrorist elements or suicide operations and ambushes operations that targeted the members of the army, police forces & civilians who work with the security forces, according to the official Statements of Egypt’s military spokesman, 24 soldier & officer were killed during the Start of the Comprehensive operation Until 27 May, without counting the number of casualties of army & police forces in the terrorist attacks such as Qosiama attack
Qosiam attack considered as one of the most prominent attacks on the army forces during the Sinai 2018 operation was the failed attempted suicide attack on border guards in the city of Arish by four Battalion 101st Border guard Head quarter, when four extremities wearing explosive belts, including two Palestinians from the Gaza Strip tried to sneak inside the battalion to denote themselves there but army forces killed them before entering the gate of the Battalion
the attack on Qosiama camp in central Sinai by two suicide bombers including a palestinian and dozens of militants, the attack led to the killing of 8 members from Egyptian army according to Egypt’s military spokesman statement but according to Sources in Suez hospital more than 20 member from army and police stationed at the camp killed.
The attacks resulted in the killing and wounding of a number of officers and soldiers of the security forces and the army, including security and military leaders, including Colonel Mustafa Khayat, commander of the 50th Thunderbolts SF Battalion and the injury of the commander of the Central Security Forces in North Sinai after IED explosion targeted his Sherpa-2 vehicle.
From the most Failures of the security Forces during the military operations in Sinai is using light armored vehicles in high terrorist activity areas that led to the fallen of many casualties among the security forces ranks in any IED attack
The elements of the Sinai province group since the launch of the comprehensive military operation in last February until June this year, carried out two ambush operations targeting of members of the army and police on the road between the cities of Arish and Bir al-Abd and again the phenomenon of killing and assassination of civilians in Arish city started to appear again after more than 4 months from the launch of operation Sinai-2018, As Journalism sources announced the killing of more than two civilians within the city in less than a week accused of working with the security forces, in spite of the security measures and strong and imposed by the security services in with the army forces in the city of Arish in addition to the successes achieved in the elimination of a large number of Sinai province terrorist cells Which are located and activates within the residential areas of the city, and the security services have recently launched a new strategy of the demolition of houses and buildings inhabited by elements and persons belonging to terrorist organizations and wanted persons for security forces .
It is clear that the Egyptian army forces close to the completion of the elimination of Sinai province group already, this was the purpose of the current military operation Sinai-2018 and the pervious counter-terrorism operation in the Sinai Peninsula, The question here is By the elimination of the Sinai province group ,will it be the end of the terrorism activity in the Sinai Peninsula or is likely to appear new groups, movements and other terrorist organizations taken from the Sinai Peninsula hideout and Center for their start & formation ,Also Is it enough to depend on the military operations only to eliminate terrorism and extremist thought or it requires the intervention of all State services and institutions to work to develop and strengthen the Sinai peninsula, & the establishment of various projects including services and economic preservation and the compensation of those residents who affected by the Counter-Terrorism Operations that started in 2013 & still continued until now.