Egypt : Army blocks all access to Sinai, schools close indefinitely and residents brace for military operation | MadaMasr
On the eve of the first day of the Armed Forces’ new major counter-terrorism operation in Sinai, authorities have restricted access to and movement within North Sinai, while residents of the peninsula’s main cities steel themselves for the new military campaign.
According to residents, authorities prohibited entry to and exit from Sinai starting Thursday night by preventing traffic coming through the Suez Canal and the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel. On Friday morning, authorities also blocked the main road linking North Sinai’s cities to one another, and cut off passage to and from the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah.
Despite a sense of anxiety following the Armed Forces’ statement on Friday — in which the military announced the launch of a major operation aiming to “end terrorism” in the peninsula — the day progressed quietly in Rafah, Arish and Sheikh Zuwayed, save for sounds of explosions coming from desert areas south of each city and military aircraft flying over them during the early hours of Friday.
The military spokesperson had stated on Friday that the operation started with the bombing of militant ammunition storehouses in north and central Sinai.
Residents said that the shelling targeted locations close to Egypt’s border with Palestine. A local on the Palestinian side of the border city of Rafah told Mada Masr that the explosions could be heard clearly in the city and residents saw smoke close to the borders from 7 am to 8 am.