CAIRO, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Interior Ministry raised security alert level in Sinai on Saturday, as intelligence suggested potential attacks against police premises by Jihadist armed groups, official news agency MENA reported.
"The security forces are currently on the highest degree of alert," MENA quoted Assistant Interior Minister for Sinai Osama Ismail as saying, revealing they received information that Jihaist groups were planning to attack some police installations in the Sinai Peninsula.
Ismail noted that security services in South Sinai and North Sinai governorates were working normally, except for 15 groups of central security forces of Arish, the capital city of North Sinai, who went on a strike early Saturday. A number of police and army soldiers have been assigned to cover for those on strike.
Over the past two chaotic years, Egyptian authorities have confiscated large amounts of smuggled weapons and explosives in the Sinai Peninsula. Due to the lack of tight security, there has been a rise of smugglers and extreme Islamists who launched attacks against police or military checkpoints and premises in the Peninsula.
On Saturday, a central security recruit was shot in the right hand at North Sinai borders while trying to stop a group of smugglers. In the same context, 20 outlaws were arrested in North Sinai who were wanted in different cases, according to MENA.
In August 2012, at least 13 Egyptian border guards in Sinai were killed in an armed attack on a checkpoint near the country's borders with Israel.