Egypt’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in a statement on Friday that the security forces launched an operation to attack a camp of terrorists 135km south of Cairo in the Wahat desert in Egypt’s Western Desert, after the National Security received information about the camp.
Egyptian police officers were killed in clashes between security forces and the militants. According to Reuters’ quoting three security sources, the clashes were an ambush by the militants to attack the security forces.
Security expert Abdel-Rafea Darwish told Daily News Egypt that the security operation suffered from lack of information about evaluating power of the enemy and the topography of the place where the militants were camping.
“The National Security had information about strange maneuvers in this place and that there are people speaking Arabic with Libyan accents, in addition to Africans,” Darwish said.
Darwish wonders why the security forces went to such an open place with no air coverage by military helicopters. He also called on questioning the minister of interior and who put forward the plan of the operation.
Security expert Mahmoud Qatry agreed with Darwish, saying that the security forces have gone for the operation with “nearly no plan”. “It is the biggest number of casualties in the history of Egypt’s security special forces,” Qatry said.
The security measures that should be taken in such operations are drawing outline maps and understanding the topography of the target, according to Qatry.
The security forces should also evaluate the arms and amenities of the enemy, using the air unit of the police or asking the military forces for air coverage, and dividing the forces into two groups, one for attacking and the other one for securing the first one, the security expert added.
Qatry does not exclude that there are eyes for the militant groups inside the ministry of interior.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Mostafa Bakry said on his official account on Twitter that he has information that the militants have captured a number of Egyptian security officers.
Bakry added that the operation was 15 kilometres between hills in the desert. The militants had information about the operation and were ready to attack the forces. They attacked the forces by RPG, which confused the forces, especially as there was no air support or prior reconnaissance, according to Bakry.
“Suddenly, the connection between the forces was interrupted, and the phone signal is very poor in the place, which is very close to oil fields. Two injured officers escaped by a police car to Ebshwai Hospital in Fayoum,” according to Bakry.
Bakry added that the forces found more than 100 militants, and the former military officer at the special forces unit, Hisham Ashmawy, was among them. Ashamawy formed the group of IS members and four former police officers. The militants disappeared, and the military forces are chasing them, according to Bakry.
Moreover, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik said in a tweet on his official account on Twitter that the operation was a “full military operation” against police officers, whom he described as “the best trained and the most efficient”. He asked about the cause of what had happened, wondering whether it was due to “betrayal or the weak plan.”
Deputy of the committee of defence and national security Yahia Kedwany said that the incident would not be the last attack due to the amount of financing these groups receive. Kedwany added that these groups knew how to use social media in their operations, local media reported.
He also called on the people to help the police in arresting the terrorists.
In July 2014, 22 members of the security guards were killed in an attack by the Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis group on a checkpoint in Al-Farafrah, New Valley governorate. Later, the group announced its affiliation to the Islamic State group (IS).