Phones and Internet shut down in North Sinai

Telephone and Internet networks were shut down in North Sinai again on Tuesday as military operations targeting armed militants continue.

A Sinai resident, who because he is currently out of Sinai was able to speak to Mada Masr, said that Internet and phone outages that last for hours have been occurring frequently in the last couple of weeks.

The outages are justified, he said, because the communication tools facilitate coordination between militants. He says that since the outages, militant attacks have decreased.

The military announced in July that it would start an extensive security operation in Sinai, targeting armed militants in the restive peninsula.

In recent months, militant attacks on police stations and military check points in Sinai have increased.

The military announced that after carrying out military operations, the campaign in Sinai has now entered its second phase searching the raided sites for militants and weapons.

The official spokesperson for the Armed Forces Ahmed Ali announced earlier this month at a press conference that the military operations have resulted in the arrest of 309 militants since they started in July. He added that the forces retrieved 36 pieces of heavy artillery including RPGs, anti aircraft missiles and mortars.

He also announced that the forces destroyed cars and houses belonging to militants.

The civilian residents of the area are suffering some of the consequences of the operation such as the telephone and Internet cuts. Ali also announced that the houses situated on the borders with Gaza are considered a security threat and will be destroyed.

Journalist Ahmed Abu Deraa was arrested in North Sinai early this month and referred to military trial on charges of propagating false information.