Egypt army launches widest offensive on Rafah in years

The Egyptian army launched the widest offensive on southern Sinai governorate of Rafah in five years last week, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported yesterday.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said that the offensive had caused a wide wave of displacement as scores of families left their homes in the targeted areas towards cities in Al-Arish. Due to the heavy army bombardment, the families were unable to take their belongings.

The tribal sources reported that heavy clashes took place between the Egyptian army and the armed militias believed to be from Wilayat Sinai, a militant group affiliated to Daesh.

Medical sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the arbitrary shelling caused the death of 25 women and a child from the targeted areas.

In addition, the sources said that the Egyptian army set up checkpoints and prevented ambulances from reaching the targeted areas to evacuate the casualties.

A military expert told the news site that the Egyptian army wanted revenge for attacks on its security forces which were carried out by Wilayat Sinai.

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“For or five years of battles with the armed groups in Sinai prove that the Egyptian army is planning to take revenge and achieve a victory; especially after its failure to succeed in the south of Al-Arish two weeks ago,” the military expert said.

The army did not announce the start of this offensive, the military expert said, citing the failure of the offensive in Al-Arish. He expected the army would announce the results of the current offensive if it achieves its goals.

He added that he expects member of Wilayat Sinai to draw attention back to Al-Arish in order to reduce the pressure on their colleagues in Rafah.