Egypt's interior ministry announced on Saturday that it has thwarted an attempt by “terrorist groups” to transport 260 automatic rifles and shotguns to North Sinai from other governorates.
In a statement on its official Facebook page, the ministry said militants attempted to transport the arms from a spot on the Ismailia-Sharqiya border and from another location in Beni Suef governorate.
The statement added that a number of suspects have been arrested and that police are pursuing others allegedly involved in the smuggling attempt.
The police operation came one day after 12 army personnel and 15 militants were killed in a shootout when an armed group assaulted a North Sinai security checkpoint, according to state officials.
Early on Saturday, Egypt’s Armed Forces launched airstrikes on a number of “terrorist hideouts” and arms depots in North Sinai, the army announced, adding that its offensive on terrorists in North Sinai is still ongoing.
In a long interview with three state-owned newspapers published on Saturday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said the security situation is improving and efforts are still ongoing.
“The war is long, terrorists are developing themselves, and we are developing our operations,” El-Sisi said.
Hundreds of security forces in North Sinai have been killed in attacks by Islamist militants since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Egyptian security forces say they have killed hundreds of militants in North Sinai during the same period.