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Sinai: Militants step up attacks, Egyptian military steps up presence as security situation goes sour

The Egyptian military is stepping up its presence in the region with more armored vehicles and closing smuggling tunnels into Gaza to rout out militants.

armored convoy egyptEnlarge
Fresh attacks by militants demonstrate waning security in the Sinai. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Security in the Sinai went from bad to worse on Thursday as fresh attacks by militants targeted Egyptian soldiers for the third day in a row.

The Egyptian military is stepping up its presence in the area with more armored vehicles and by closing smuggling tunnels into Gaza to rout out militants.

Bloomberg reported that the military has sent dozens of tanks and armored vehicles into north Sinai as a part of the largest offensive in the region in decades.

Gunmen shot at a police station in El-Arish, the region's main administrative center, on Thursday.

The attack, which comes at the heels of several other shootouts the day before between militants and Egyptian soldiers, underscores the deteriorating security in the area, reported RT.

The motives behind the attacks are as complex as the region itself.

Drug-smuggling, Islamic extremism and hatred towards Cairo by Bedouins may all play a role in the violence and lawlessness in the Sinai.

Israel said that it welcomes the offensive by Egypt despite sending heavily armed military vehicles into the sensitive region once occupied by the Jewish state, reported Reuters.

An attack last weekend on the Israeli border with Egypt and Gaza left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead and many more wounded.

Newly-elected president Mohamed Morsi vowed revenge for the attacks.

It seems like he's on his way to getting it.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120809/sinai-militants-step-attacks-security-situation-goes-