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After seven Egyptian soldiers were released on Wednesday, a military source on Thursday denied rumors that the Armed Forces had struck a compromise with their kidnappers.
The idea that, in return for the release of the soldiers, convicts who threaten state security would be freed is "unfounded and a fantasy that has nothing to do with reality," the military source said.
The source added that the deployment of the Second Field Army units in Sinai and their intensive search and rescue operation applied pressure on the kidnappers and "put terror in their hearts," resulting in their decision to free the soldiers. He noted that the army is continuing their pursuit of the culprits.
The commanders of the Armed Forces have prepared a long-term plan by which to cleanse Sinai hotspots of armed criminals who terrorize innocent people, especially in mountainous areas with rough terrain, the source told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The administration ratified the plan and army forces started to implement it last Monday morning, the source said.
The source added that the Second Field Army units in Arish will not return to the barracks until it has completed all the tasks it has been assigned by the general commanders of the Armed Forces. Having managed to identify the kidnappers’ names, the source stated that the army would hunt them down and bring them before a criminal trial.
As a general rule, the commanders of the Armed Forces do not release convicts when dealing with terrorists, as this would have a negative effect on the prestige of the state and the Armed Forces that control the Sinai Peninsula.
The source pointed out that the people of Sinai want nothing else than to see their land cleansed of armed criminals, and to this effect they have offered considerable logistical assistance to the Armed Forces.
A security source confirmed that, while conducting their search operations over the past few days, the Armed Forces found new terrorist sanctuaries and weapon storages.
Edited translation form Al-Masry Al-Youm