In July 2017, the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces issued instructions to establish a semi-special forces unit to participate in new tasks as combat terrorism, which considered as kind of atypical wars & urban areas operations, Also, one of the objectives of the unit is to work as a nearby reserve for the general command of Egyptian Armed Forces to participate in the tasks outside the country and inside to secure the cities, provinces, & desert areas in the south and west of the country, conduct surgical strikes against terrorist cells
The unit is attached to Rapid deployment forces (RDF) of Egyptian Army, and it consists in its formation of Thunderbolts, Border guards, reconnaissance units, Infantry, 25th special operations group of the Egyptian civilian police with total number of 125 personnel, in addition to paratroopers company operating as a reserve to the unit in addition to technical and administrative units
The members of the New formed counter terrorism unit got highly physical training, counter terrorism courses/non conventional warfare trainings including CQB/CQC, & Thunderbolts course training in addition to other special forces main courses from the Egyptian Thunderbolts School in Inshas, Also the must unit personnel had got rare training on fighting in urban areas & dealing with IEDs and explosives from various types & sizes.
The main problem that faces this unit is the lack of good equipment & protective gears for its personnel to allow them to fight for long time and in high-risk terrain and provide them with the necessary protection in the operations in the opened desert or the urban areas.
- The Unit Personnel from the army are Mainly using SIG-516 Sauer, while the AK-103 assault rifle is being used by police special operation forces in the unit, AKM/AK-47 Assault Rifles (But not in all photos of the unit personnel it appeared in, & it’s lacked from any NVGs or Scopes), Also, there is a lack of first aid kits and communications equipment, which are supposed to be modern and sophisticated for a specialized counter-terror unit
- Moving to the vehicles used by the unit
The Main vehicles the unit depends on are the Caiman Cat ll MRAPs, Humvee LAVs Light armored vehicles, Sherpa-2 French Made Armored scouts, and newly modified Toyota land cruiser SUVs, Also the unit air-wing relays on CH-47 Chinook as main air transport vehicle.
The unit first deployment was in February 2018 to participate in the comprehensive operation Sinai-2018 against the Jihadists & extremists in Egypt delta and Nile valley.
Groups of the unit were deployed in some governorates and other groups were paid to secure the borderline with Libya and Sudan, The unit losses and casualties during the Comprehensive operation aren’t considered as few to special forces unit, as KIA (Killed in Action figures) of the unit reached to more Five personnel in short period including an officer and a sergeant.
In contrary to this, The unit succeeded in carrying out multiple number of military operations, including thwarting several attempts to smuggle through the western & southern borders and the elimination of a number of terrorist cells in the western desert and Nile valley including the recent terrorist cell that was eliminated during the last two days near Fayoum, It was noticed in the last operation of unit-888 how they were dealing in very professional way with the terrorist elements using (CWS) installed on Sherpa-2 Armored vehicles under the cover of AH-64 Apache Gunships, And This is In contrast to all the previous operations carried out by the civili police or Infantry units or border guards from the army that were suffering from the lack of professional dealing with terrorist elements, work under air support cover and in consistent groups.