Egyptian media outlets say operation against Sinai terrorists lasted 5 hours, coordinated with Israel- Egyptian Troops, jets kill terrorists, destroy armored cars after Sinai attack that killed 16 Egyptian border guards. Earlier, armed men, security forces clashed at Sinai checkpoints.
Egyptian Intel chief Mowafi says Cairo had 'detailed information' on attack that left 16 Egyptian border guards dead, but 'we never imagined a Muslim would kill a Muslim during meal breaking Ramadan fast'-
Egypt launched on Wednesday the first air strike on militants in the Sinai region since 1973, killing at least 20 terrorists in an operation described by the Egyptian media as the "Sinai cleansing operation."
According to Egyptian security sources, over 2,000 Islamic militants reside in the Sinai region.
Egyptian media outlets reported that Egypt launched air strikes in the Sinai region close to the border with Israel early Wednesday morning, in an unprecedented operation which intends to secure the region once again.
Security sources have begun briefing the Egyptian media on the details of the Sinai operation. Al-Youm al-Sabaa quoted a security source as saying that Egyptian authorities received Israel's consent prior to launching the air strikes in Sinai. The source further said that Israel consented to Egypt's use of advanced military equipment in the attack on area C, a region close to the border with Israel.
According to the security source, the operation was coordinated between the two countries and based on the agreed upon order of battle under the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.
Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Sabaa reported that the offensive in northern Sinai ended after five hours of clashes with armed militants and Egyptian air strikes. An Egyptian military official said that Egyptian troops were still pursuing militants in several areas.
According to a report in Al Masrawy newspaper, the decision to attack in Sinai was made on Monday during a meeting between the Egyptian military command and police forces. It was decided that the Egyptian Air Force would strike three different terror nests, including nests in the city of Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed.
Security sources in the Sinai city of Sheikh Zuwayed reported that the army is currently raiding hundreds of houses in the region hoping to trace terrorists and confiscate weapons.
They added that the heavy gunfire had virtually stopped but that there are sporadic blasts and that aircrafts are still circling the skies.
Medical sources have said that the bodies of the terrorists that died in the operation have yet to arrive to hospitals in the area.
Since Mubarak stepped down, Israel has allowed Egypt to send in more troops to Sinai, which has been mostly demilitarized according to the 1979 peace deal between the two countries. The attack Sunday touched off renewed calls in Egypt to amend the treaty to allow for more troops in Sinai.
Head of Egyptian intelligence Morad Mowafi admitted that the Arab country had received intelligence warnings prior to Sunday's terror attack in Sinai.
Speaking to Turkish news agency Anadulo following a meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo on Tuesday, Mowafi said, "This incident should never raise any questions regarding the efficiency of the security forces in Sinai and their alertness."
He said Egypt also had information regarding the "terrorist group" that committed the attack.
"Yes, we had detailed information about the attack, but we never imagined that a Muslim would kill a Muslim on the hour of breaking the fast in Ramadan," Egypt's intelligence chief told the news agency.
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