Egypt’s well-coordinated drive against Islamist militants in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula was important to quell the spike in extremist violence in the country.
The sweep, which began on Friday, destroyed dozens of targets, killed 16 militants and detained over 30 suspects, according to the military.
The operation, which targeted “terrorist and criminal elements and organisations,” involves land, naval and air forces from the army and police, and covers north and central Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.
The offensive is also aimed to rally Egyptians around their president as he seeks re-election in May for a second four-year term.
To many, Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, is the only one who can restore Egypt’s security and stability. Egyptians are tired of senseless violence and bloodshed after a year of devastating terrorist attacks.
In November, extremists killed 311 worshippers in a mosque attack in north Sinai, the deadliest such killing in Egypt’s modern history, prompting Al Sissi to give security forces a three-month deadline to restore order using “all brute force” required. Before that in April, terrorists attacked Palm Sunday mass in Alexandria and Tanta, killing more than 100 worshippers.
Arab nations must stand resolute and united in their support for a stable Egypt – the most populous Arab country. Fighting militancy and rooting it out is imperative to achieve this. There is no place for religious extremism in modern society and any progress sought in advancing state institutions must be done through appropriate channels. Militancy should not be allowed to incubate in the region and a zero tolerance policy must be pursued.