Operation Sinai (2012)
This article is about the Egyptian military operation in 2012. For other operations of that name, see Operation Sinai.
Operation Sinai is an ongoing Egyptian military campaign, launched in early August 2012, against Islamic militants within the Sinai Peninsula to crush the Sinai Insurgency. The operation came as a direct response to the 2012 Egyptian-Israeli border attack on 5 August 2012. The operation was initially reported as part of "Operation Nisr" (Operation Eagle), but on 3 September 2012, the Egyptian army issued a statement requesting media sources to use the official name "Operation Sinai."[17][18]
Operation Sinai
Part of Sinai insurgency

Map of the Sinai Peninsula
Date7 August 2012 – present
(8 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 5 days)
LocationSinai Peninsula, Egypt
Commanders and leaders
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Adly Mansour
Mahmoud Tawfik
Magdy Abdel Ghaffar
Mohamed Ibrahim Moustafa
Ahmed Gamal El Din
Mohamed Ahmed Zaki
Sedki Sobhi
Casualties and losses
21 killed, 36 wounded[15]32 killed, 38 arrested
2 civilians killed, 6 wounded.[16]
Total: 55 killed
Main articles: Sinai insurgency and 2012 Egyptian-Israeli border attack
The Egyptian Armed Forces are engaged in a difficult and sustained military campaign to subdue and eliminate dangerous and violent extremists from the Northern Sinai Peninsula. These extremists pose a dangerous threat to the people of the Sinai, the security of Egypt, and to the stability of the broader Middle East region. The fight against extremism in the Sinai is one of global significance. Over the last two years, extremists in the Northern Sinai region have attacked civilians and Egyptian authorities, resulting in military and police deaths, and countless other injuries.
The Sinai insurgency began in February 2011, during the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. As a result of destabilization of the Egyptian government, various insurgent groups, including mostly Bedouins, began to undermine central authority of Egypt. As a result, Egyptian interim government poured troops into the Sinai peninsula on 15 August 2011, in what became known as Operation Eagle.
During the Mohamed Morsi's presidency, attempted to relaxed restrictions and conduct a "political dialogue" with salafi jihadist groups. Despite these efforts, however, fighting in the Sinai continued.[19][20] The 2012 Egyptian–Israeli border attack, which led to Operation Sinai, occurred on 5 August 2012, when armed men ambushed an Egyptian military base in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 16 soldiers and stealing two armored cars, which they used to infiltrate into Israel. The attackers broke through the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Israel, where one of the vehicles exploded. They then engaged in firefight with soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, during which six of the attackers were killed. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi vowed to retake the Sinai Peninsula and declared three days of mourning.
August 2012
A few days after the 2012 Egyptian-Israeli border attack, forces from Egypt’s army and the police engaged in an operation against armed men who have been targeting security personnel in North Sinai.[21] A number of clashes between armed men and security forces at several security checkpoints in the Sinai occurred during this time.[22] In one attack, gunmen opened fire on three local security checkpoints, wounding at least six people, and triggering protests in the region by Egyptians, who demanded protection.[16]
At 3:20 A.M., on 8 August, following attacks on several of these security checkpoints, Egyptian military troops and jets killed 20 militants, wounded a few dozen people,[23] and destroyed three armored cars belongs to the militants in the village of al-Toumah in the Sinai Peninsula. This was the first time since 1973 that Egypt launched an air strike in the Sinai. A commander said that the army had received information that many fighters were in the village. Separate attacks by the military were also carried out just outside Sheikh Zuwayed.[22]
Egyptian security sources said that over 2,000 Islamic militants reside in the Sinai region, and the Egyptian media are referring to the operation as "Sinai cleansing operation." The military said that the goal of the operation is to "restore security by pursuing and targeting armed terrorist elements in Sinai."[24] Security sources in Sheikh Zuwayed, a city in the Sinai, reported that the Egyptian army has been raiding hundreds of houses in the region in the hopes of tracing terrorists and confiscating weapons.[25] Later in the day, Egypt’s military said that its operation against fighters in the Sinai Peninsula was "a complete success and will continue."[24]
On 9 August, Israel's security cabinet approved a request from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to allow Egypt to deploy attack helicopters in the Sinai Peninsula for its recent operations. This approval was necessary under the Camp David Accords, which limit the type of weaponry that are allowed in the Sinai.[26]
On 10 August, the police and military arrested nine suspects (of the 5 August attack) in the village of Sheikh Zuwayed, in North Sinai, as part of the ongoing operation. A military source called the arrested suspects "terrorist elements" and another high-level military source said that the suspects belong to radical groups.[27] One of those arrested was nicknamed by Egypt as "Bin Laden of Sinai" and is suspected of being responsible for planning and executing the 5 August attack. Another accomplice possessed 22 Egyptian citizens’ ID cards. The arrested were charged with attacking police officers and stations in the Sinai Peninsula, belonging to a jihadi group, and smuggling weapons to and from the Gaza Strip.[28]
On 10 August, NPR's Leila Fadel said that she could not find any evidence of the new Egyptian military campaign, when she went to villages where the fighting was said to have been the most intense, which has raised the possibility that Egypt has been inflating the facts on their military campaign.[29]
As of 11 August, Egypt sent hundreds of troops and armored vehicles into North Sinai to combat terrorists operating near the Egyptian-Israeli border.[30] Al Ahram reported that security forces have intensified their presence in a number of villages in North Sinai where wanted suspects are believed to be hiding. One of these villages, the Mahdeya village, is considered to be the largest arms trade center in North Sinai, and security forces aim to eliminiate similar spots because they provide sophisticated weapons to radical groups.[27] On the same day, a group of armed men opened fire on peacekeeping troops in the Um Shyhan area in the Sinai on the border with Israel. No one was injured.[30]
On 12 August, Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected militants during raids on hideouts in two villages near El-Arish of al-Ghora and al-Mahdiyah in northern Sinai. The security officials seized landmines, an anti-aircraft missile, heavy machine-guns and grenades. The militants were killed when the security forces shelled a house in which they took cover after exchanging fire.[31]
On 13 August, the sixth day of the military crackdown on Islamists, armed men shot dead tribal leader Khalaf Al-Menahy and his son, as they came back from a conference organized by tribal leaders to denounce militancy. In addition, a source close to Islamists in the Sinai said that hundreds of them had organized a secret meeting to discuss their response to the killing of five suspected terrorists by Egyptian soldiers earlier in the day, and agreed that the reaction will be harsh.[32]
On 17 August, an arrested suspect guided security forces to an apartment in Sheikh Zuwayed that was used by terrorists to hide "wireless devices and jihadist books." The apartment also contained three black flags that read. "There is no god but God and Mohamed is the messenger of God."[33]
On 20 August, Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made his first visit to the Sinai since the 5 August attack, and finalized plans to intensify the crackdown. These plans included using aircraft and tanks in the Sinai for the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.[34]
September 2012
On 7 September 2012, gunmen attacked the Egyptian Rayesa checkpoint, located outside of Arish in the Sinai. This marked the 34th attack on the checkpoint since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Egyptian soldiers searched the surrounding area and inspected passing cars to question their passengers.[35]
On 8 September 2012, Egyptian military spokesman Ahmed Mohammed Ali announced that Egyptian soldiers have killed 32 "criminal elements," arrested 38 people, and destroyed 31 smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian-Gaza border as part of Operation Sinai, following the 2012 Egyptian-Israeli border attack. In addition, Ali said that Egypt was consulting Israel regarding Egyptian security measures in the Sinai, which an Israeli government official confirmed.[36]
Israeli soldiers, who were providing security to construction crews building a fence in the Har Harif area on the border with the Egyptian Sinai, were attacked. One Israeli soldier was killed and another was wounded during the attack, while three gunmen executing the attack were killed by the Israeli military.[37][38][39] A group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem ("Supporters of Jerusalem") claimed responsibility for the deadly attack along the Egyptian-Israeli border.[40][41]
October 2012
By October 2012, a large amount of Egyptian forces had been withdrawn from Sinai.[20]
On 8 October 2012, there was an alleged attack on Egyptian Central Security Forces with 21 people dying in a truck crash. The attack was initially referred to as an accident.[42] However, sources have stated that gunmen shot at the vehicles' tires, causing it to lose control and crash.[43] A more recent statement by the police has placed the blame of the crash on driver error.[44]
Egyptian Armed Forces' strategy and operations
Egyptian security forces launched Operation Sinai (Op-Sinai) to reassert effective control of the area by subduing and eliminating violent extremists. The campaign is a comprehensive and sustained effort involving air, land, special forces, and intelligence units of the Egyptian military.
The key military objectives of the Egyptian military’s Sinai operations include:
The Egyptian Armed Forces are carrying out tasks in Sinai according to certain considerations, limitations, and controls:
Key Facts
Units of the Egyptian Second Army, along with Naval and Air Forces, are working closely with local police, government and Bedouin leaders to prevent acts of terrorism in the North Sinai by identifying and eliminating violent extremists in villages. The military has also launched operations to close illegal tunnels that enable smuggling of illicit materials underneath the Egypt-Gaza border. Naval vessels patrol the Suez to ensure safe passage of ships, and prevent terrorist attacks from shore, and Egyptian forces are working to protect critically important gas pipelines and prevent future terrorist attacks on them.
Force Deployment:
  1. ^ "Perpetrators of second Rafah massacre arrested". Daily News Egypt. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Egypt's Sinai desert: A haven for malcontents". The Economist. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Jund al Islam claims credit for Sinai suicide car bomb attacks". The Long War Journal. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  4. ^ "(Allied) Popular Resistance Movement". Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
  5. ^ "Egypt army arrests head of Sinai radical militant group, dozens others". Ahram Online. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Egypt sentences 14 to death for 2011 Sinai attacks". The Times of Israel. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Ansar al Sharia Egypt in the Sinai". Long War Journal. 6 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  8. ^ Bill Roggio, Mujahideen Shura Council denies involvement in Sinai assault, Long War Journal (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) 06-08-2012 Archived 15 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Jaysh al-Islam". Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Deadly attacks in Sinai highlight the region's growing instability". American Enterprise Institute. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  11. ^​http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/09/jihadists_attack_int.php
  12. ^ "Al Furqan Brigades". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Ajnad Misr". Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  14. ^ "'State of Sinai' claim attacks as part of 'IslamiYouth Uprising'". Daily News Egypt. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Security source: CSF vehicle in Sinai was shot at". Daily News Egypt. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  16. ^ a b Goldman, Yoel (8 August 2012). "Protests erupt in northern Sinai after gunmen fire on three checkpoints". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  17. ^ El-Behairy, Nouran (8 September 2012). "Egyptian armed forces announce results of "Operation Sinai". The Daily News Egypt. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Egypt kills militants, seizes weapons in Sinai offensive". CNN. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Sinai Peninsula – from Buffer Zone to Battlefield" (PDF). February 2015. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  20. ^ a b Security in the Sinai: Present and FutureArchived 13 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Zack Gold, ICCT Research Paper March 2014
  21. ^ Hatem Maher and Sherif Tarek (8 August 2012). "Egyptian troops strike hard in North Sinai after multiple attacks". Al Ahram. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  22. ^ a b "Egypt army kills 20 terrorists in Sinai". Yedioth Ahronot. Reuters. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  23. ^ Avi Issacharoff (10 August 2012). "Sinai terror attack serves as a bloody wake up call for Egypt's new president". Haaretz. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Egyptian army declares success in crackdown on Sinai terrorists". The Times of Israel. Associated Press. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  25. ^ Roi Kais (8 August 2012). "Egypt hunting down 2,000 terrorists". Yedioth Ahronot. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  26. ^ Herb Keinon (9 August 2012). "Security cabinet okays Egypt attack helicopters in Sinai". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  27. ^ a b "Six Sinai attack suspects arrested Friday". Egypt Independent. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  28. ^ Ilan ben Zion (11 August 2012). "Egypt indicts 'Bin Laden of Sinai' for planning Sunday's border terror attack". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  29. ^ "Egypt Accused Of Inflating Facts on Sinai Attacks". NPR. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  30. ^ a b "'Armed men attack peacekeeping troops in Egypt's Sinai'". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. 11 August 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  31. ^ "Egypt says 7 suspected militants killed in Sinai". Bloomberg Business Week. Associated Press. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  32. ^ "Gunmen kill Egyptian tribal leader and son in Sinai". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  33. ^ "Interior Ministry: Security crackdown on jihadists continues in Sinai". Al-Masry Al-Youm. Egypt Independent. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  34. ^ "Egypt to employ aircraft, tanks against Sinai terrorists". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  35. ^ "Sinai checkpoint attacked for 34th time". MENA. Egypt Independent. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  36. ^ Shmulovich, Michal (8 September 2012). "Egypt says it has killed 32 'criminals' and arrested 38 since Sinai terror attack". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  37. ^ IDF Website (21 September 2012). "IDF thwarts large terror attack. Several terrorists fire on an IDF patrol on the Egyptian border, leading to a deadly firefight". Israeli Defense Forces. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  38. ^ Roggio, Bill (21 September 2012). "Israeli soldier killed in border clash with 'terrorists'". The Long War Journal - A Project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  39. ^ Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (21 September 2012). "Three militants, Israeli soldier dead after border firefight". CNN. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  40. ^ Mohamed Fadel Fahmy (24 September 2012). "Al Qaeda-inspired group claims responsibility for border attack". CNN. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  41. ^ "Jihadi group claims responsibility for Sinai attack". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  42. ^ "UPDATE: Truck accident in Sinai kills 21 soldiers, wounds 24: Ministry of Interior". Ahram. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  43. ^ "Security source: CSF vehicle in Sinai was shot at". Daily News Egypt. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  44. ^ "No criminal activity suspected in Central Security truck crash, say police". Egypt Independent. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
External links
Egyptian Armed Forces
Last edited on 3 May 2021, at 09:53
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