Egypt is preparing to use aircraft and tanks in Sinai Peninsula first time since the 1973 war, as part of its offensive against militants in the border area, security sources told Reuters on Monday.
The plans to intensify the operation are being considered by the new Defense Minister, General Abdel Fattah al Sissi, who made, on Monday, his first inspection visit to Sinai since the deadly attack on Aug. 5, in which 16 Egyptian Border Guards were killed and several soldiers were wounded .
No one has claimed responsibility for the killing of the border guards. Sinai-based Islamist militant are suspected, however.
Furthermore, the government daily Al-Ahram said that General Abdel Fattah al Sissi asked tribal leaders in El-Arish to support the security forces and the campaign in the area.
On Sunday, Egyptian Chief of Staff Gen. Sidki Sobhi, accompanied by senior officers, arrived in El-Arish in northern Sinai for a situational update on the current counterterrorism operations.
Security source said the army plans to attack Al Halal Mount in the center of the peninsula, including using tanks to flush out entrenched militants.
A senior military commander said the Egyptian army will not back down from hitting terrorism in Sinai and will prove that the Egyptian government and people will keep every inch of Egypt.
"Egyptian troops had uncovered terrorist groups from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, Palestine’s Army of Islam and some Egyptian extremists in Sinai," he said.
"Without Egyptian military control of the area, "Sinai may turn into a more dangerous area than Afghanistan or Iraq," he added.
At the same time, Israel announced that it had installed its Iron Dome air defense system, which is designed to intercept and destroy rockets at the border.
“An Iron Dome battery has been deployed in the town of as part of tests, momentarily modifying the sites where these systems are deployed,” an Israeli military spokesperson said.
It is worth mentioning that U.S. Defense Secretary is offering to supply Egypt's military in Sinai with truck-mounted sensors that provide an electronic signal identifying which nation is operating the vehicle, according to CNN's security clearance blog.
The same source also reported according to an official in Obama administration, the U.S. is also offering Egypt increased intelligence sharing, including satellite imagery and drone flights and intercepts of cell phone and other communications among militants suspected of planning attacks.