Egypt releases 25 Sinai residents found innocent of plotting 'terrorist acts'

Published December 20th, 2015 - 01:00 GMT
The restive Sinai region has been plagued with violence since the military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. (AFP/File)
The restive Sinai region has been plagued with violence since the military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. (AFP/File)

Egyptian security forces released 25 people hailing from Sinai on Saturday after it was “proven” that they were not involved in any “terrorist acts or criminal cases,” the state news agency MENA said.

Their release is part of a recent decision by security forces to release detainees from Sinai and brings the total number of people released from different cities in North Sinai to 107.

Egypt is battling an insurgency in North Sinai that peaked following the military ouster of former President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, after protests against his rule.

Hundreds of suspected militants have been killed and hundreds more arrested in multiple security campaigns that have been launched by the army, according to statements by the armed forces.

The people released on Saturday had been detained in a security headquarter in Ismailia province and were taken to their homes in al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Beer al-A’abd cities, where they were received by family, security and local sources told MENA.

Although attacks have taken place outside of the Sinai desert including in the cities of Cairo, Alexandriabri and Mansoura, the province of North Sinai is considered the base of militancy in Egypt.

Sinai is home to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militant group, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, known as ISIS, on November 10, 2014 and rebranded itself as "Sinai Province".

Ansar is the most active militant group operating in Egypt and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, with the most prominent being their claim that they downed the Russian passenger plane that crashed in Sinai on Oct. 31.

The fight against terrorism has been high on Egypt's agenda this year and the Egyptian state has actively addressed the matter during international events and high-level talks.   


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