The Egyptian Armed Forces has declared its complete control over al-Halal mountain after purging all the caves, killing several extremists, arresting others and confiscating huge amounts of ammunition.
Military spokesperson Tamer al-Refai posted on Facebook that the third field army achieved gains through security operations launched in central Sinai, which enjoys a mountainous nature.
Al-Halal mountain is one of these areas where extremists took shelter, but the armed forces were able to gain full control, Refai said on Sunday.
Major General Mohamed Raafat al-Dash, commander of the third field army, told reporters that the operation had been planned through several stages and the troops raided the area according to instructions.
The first phase, according to Dash, was collecting information in collaboration with security services and Sinai residents. Data was gathered about the area and the roads leading to it, as well as locations where extremists gathered.
The second phase started with besieging roads leading to the mountain by using security checkpoints, then gaining control over all the entrances to the mountain in order to prevent supplies entering the area until the extremists’ strategic stock ran out, at which point they would be forced to surrender.
Nine fighting groups were deployed, he said. Each group was in charge of a sector inside the mountain and was ordered to comb through this area and fight the extremists. The operation lasted six consecutive days, leaving 18 extremists dead and 31 injured.
Three vehicles and six motorbikes were destroyed; 24 caves with huge stores of ammunition and weapons were found inside; and 29 booby trapped motorbikes were found in addition to stores of bombs.
Eight stores of fuel were found, he added. Vehicles with guns installed on them were found in the valleys in addition to huge amounts of spare parts, wireless telecommunications devices and drugs.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm