On Friday morning, the Egyptian Armed Forces announced the launch of a new major operation to confront terrorism in north and middle Sinai and other areas in the Nile Delta and the desert areas west of the Nile valley.
Ahram Online provided an account of key events and statements by the army, police and public institutions throughout the day.
20:00 Egypt's parliament fully supports the "honorable and just" ongoing operation by the Egyptian army to purge the country of terrorists, a statement by Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said on Friday evening.
Abdel-Aal said that he is closely following Operation Sinai 2018, which aims to thwart all terrorist plots threatening the security of Egypt, the statement added.
“The parliament values all the sacrifices of brave Egyptian soldiers, and calls on Egyptians to stand with police and the Armed Forces in the country’s war against terrorism, until the land of Egypt is cleansed of it forever,” the statement said.
19:30 Egyptian authorities have decided to close all schools in North Sinai until further notice starting Saturday. The Ministry of Higher Education is also suspending studies at universities and other institutions of higher education for one week.
17:15 Hours after the Egyptian army started Operation Sinai 2018 to fight terrorism this morning, the interior ministry said it killed three members of the banned Hasm terrorist group in a shootout in an under-construction residential building in Cairo.
The ministry said its comprehensive security plan to curb the group’s actions in Qalioubiya, Daqahliya, Beheira, Menoufiya, Sharqiya, Assiut, and Fayoum led to the arrest of 14 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood following raids on their hideouts on Friday, the ministry said.
“In the framework of the interior ministry’s efforts to abort the plans of terrorist the Muslim Brotherhood – which aims to compromise the country’s security and undermine its capabilities – the national security department has monitored the issuance of a mandate from the fugitive terrorist group leaders abroad to its elements who are members of Hasm, one of the armed wings of the Brotherhood,” the interior ministry said.
The ministry said that the Hasm terrorists were instructed “to execute a number of synchronised hostile operations on vital and important institutions as well as police and Armed Forces ahead of the presidential elections, to create a state of instability and present a negative image about the situation in the country.”
16:00 Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, headed by Pope Tawadros II, declares its solidarity and support for the "comprehensive battle" of the Egyptian armed forces and the patriotic police that aims at purging "the forces of terrorism" all over the country, in accordance with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's directives, read a short statement on Friday afternoon.
"History will record the sacrifices of Egypt's brave army and police who sacrifice their lives for the sake of the country's stability; long live Egypt's unity," the church statement added.
14:15 Egypt's Al-Azhar announced on Friday afternoon its “full support” for Operation Sinai 2018, calling on all the Egyptian people "to support the brave men of the army and police in their fight against terrorist and criminal elements."
In a statement, the world's leading Sunni institution praised the sacrifices of the army and police in the confrontation against terrorists so "Egypt can be purged of these elements that have and terrorized and killed citizens," and in order "to foil the attempts to foster chaos and strife to harm the stability of the the homeland."
Al-Azhar also hailed the sacrifices of the residents of Sinai who "have endured suffering caused by "the criminality of such terrorist groups.”
Egyptian army in Operation Sinai 2018
12:45 The General Command of the Armed Forces issued Communique Number 2 which provided details on the "comprehensive" Operation Sinai 2018.
The Communique was read by military spokesman Colonel Tamer El-Rafei on state TV.
"Great people of Egypt, in a continuation of law enforcement forces' efforts, elements of our air forces targeted some of the pits, hideouts, and ammunition and weapons warehouses used by terrorist elements as a base to target the law enforcement forces and civilian targets in North and Middle Sinai,” he said.
“Units from the naval forces are also tightening the security on the sea front, with the aim of cutting all supply lines to terrorist elements."
"The border guard forces and civilian police are also tightening security procedures at borders and on navigational courses."
"Joints elements from the armed forces and the police are also tightening the security procedures at vital ports and areas in different areas of the republic,” he said.
Egyptian Air Force during Operation Sinai 2018
12:15 Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said he is following with pride the heroics of the army and police in the "comprehensive" Operation Sinai 2018.
“I follow with pride the heroics of my sons from the Armed Forces and the Police to purge the beloved land of Egypt from terrorists, the enemies of life. And always, long live Egypt,” El-Sisi said in a post on his official Facebook page.
12:00 A senior interior ministry security source told state agency MENA that the country’s security alert level has been raised to its highest level nationwide, in light of the “fierce war” by the police in coordination with the armed forces to eradicate “the roots of terrorism.”
According to the source, security measures in the vicinity of major state institutions, houses of worship and tourist hotspots have been boosted.
He added that security patrols have been set up in squares and on major highways in each governorate, as well as on connecting roads between governorates, with a continuation of security campaigns to comb remote areas to eliminate threats to the security and stability of citizens.
Egyptian police deployed to secure country during Operation Sinai 2018
11:15 Egypt's armed forces announced on Friday morning a major new military operation dubbed "comprehensive" Operation Sinai 2018 to purge country from terrorism.
Military spokesman Colonel Tamer El-Rafei read the army statement "Communique 1 from the General Command of the Armed Forces" on state TV, which announced the launch of the operation.
"Great people of Egypt, in accordance with the delegation issued by the president of the republic, the supreme commander of the Egyptian armed forces, to the general command of the Egyptian armed forces and the interior ministry to comprehensively confront terrorism as well other criminal activities in close cooperation with all state institutions, law enforcement troops started to implement the plan of comprehensive confrontation of terrorist and criminal elements and organizations in north and middle Sinai and other areas in the Nile Delta and the desert areas west of the Nile valley," he said.
"In addition, the operation will include the implementation of other military and training missions and exercises in all strategic directions with the aim of tightening of control of the borders of the Egyptian state and to ensure the achievement of the planned aims of the clearing of terrorist pits from the areas where they are found, and to protect Egyptian society from the evils of terrorism and extremism, while also confronting other crimes that affect internal security and stability."
The armed forces "call on all Egyptians in all parts of the republic to closely cooperate with the forces of law enforcement to confront terrorism and weed out its roots, and to promptly report any elements that threaten the security and stability of the homeland," the statement ended.
Egyptian Air Force during Operation Sinai 2018