The Egyptian army said in an official statement on July 21 that it had managed to thwart a terrorist attack on a military security site in the city of Bir al-Abd, north of the Sinai Peninsula.
The statement added that the armed forces killed 18 armed men, one of whom was wearing an explosive belt, and the army destroyed four vehicles, three of them booby-trapped, and two soldiers were killed, and four others were wounded in the accident.
The attack coincides with the approval of the Egyptian parliament on July 20 to deploy the Egyptian armed forces on combat missions outside the country's borders, according to the American al-Monitor website.
The situation in Libya is critical, especially since the Turkish navy announced on July 8 that it is preparing to conduct large-scale naval exercises in three locations off the coast of Libya, which prompted the Libyan parliament, which is allied with Khalifa Haftar, on July 14 to invite Egypt to intervene in Libya to protect National security of the two countries, considering what was happening as a direct threat to Libya and Egypt.
The head of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies, Khaled Okasha, told Al-Monitor, “The relationship is very clear between the terrorist attack on Bir al-Abd in Sinai and Egypt’s announcement of its legitimate intervention in Libya to address the threat of extremist militias.”
He added that "this terrorist operation is seen as a swift response by the militants in Sinai to the Egyptian decision in an attempt to revive terrorist threats in eastern Egypt."
Okasha believes that terrorist elements in Sinai, as well as in Libya, receive their orders and funding from the same parties.
Sinai has seen increasing terrorist attacks against security forces and the army, since Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July 2013, after massive demonstrations swept the nation against his mismanagement of the country.
Okasha explained that the recent terrorist attack was an expected scenario for Egypt, which the latter managed to thwart.
He added, "It is not the first terrorist operation that the Egyptian army was able to thwart, and pointed out that pre-emptive strikes occurred recently, which indicates Egyptian security control in the Sinai.
Okasha said, "The Egyptian army has the ability to deal with threats, whether in the east, the west, or on any other front if necessary, and everyone who doubts this, does not have sufficient knowledge of the strength of the Egyptian armed forces, both in terms of numbers and armament."
Okasha concluded that all parties involved in the security issue in Egypt are well aware of the extent of the link between the terrorist presence in Libya and Egypt.
On July 19, the Pentagon reported that Turkey sent nearly 3,800 Syrian mercenaries to Libya in the first quarter of this year.
"The attack on Bir al-Abd is seen as an attempt by parties abroad to disrupt the Egyptian army, and to impede it from carrying out its primary mission to counter any threat to Egyptian security in Libya," Maj. Gen. Yahya al-Kadwani, a member of the parliamentary defense committee, told Al-Monitor by phone.
He said: "Armed militias operating in Libya, Sinai, and other locations in Arab countries operate in the same manner. The Egyptian army is widespread, and therefore capable of carrying out several missions in more than one strategic direction, and what is happening in Sinai is just a guerrilla war that the army can Frustrated at any time. "
Al-Kadwani added that the countries that support terrorism, international intelligence services or the Muslim Brotherhood are pressuring armed groups to commit such operations, in a desperate attempt to convey a picture to the public opinion at home and abroad that these militias can overtake the Egyptian armed forces.