Egyptian security forces launched an operation to combat the rising violence in Sinai, with raids resulting in the arrest of Egyptians and Palestinians linked to Hamas’ armed wing.
The operations, which included military and Interior Ministry forces, were in response to recent attacks on Egyptian security patrols in the strategic peninsula. It was unclear how long the operations would continue.
Separately, an official with the Islamic Jihad group warned that Egypt could see a period of renewed bloodshed if the president elected in a May 23 vote isn’t a candidate supported by those who adhere to the idea of jihad, or holy war, or doesn’t back the imposition of Islamic law in the country, the independent Al Masry Al Youm reported.
Nabil Naeem, a member of Islamic Jihad, also said there were about 500 al-Qaida-affiliated militants in the country, most of who were in Sinai and were among the remnants of militant groups such as Takfir wal Hijra. Those movements had waged an insurgency against Hosni Mubarak’s government in the 1990s before security forces quashed the violence.
The Islamic Group had also been among those that fought against Mubarak’s regime, though it has since pushed to secure a stronger position in mainstream politics after last year’s uprising.