The attack off the coast of Damietta targeting a navy vessel aimed to undermine Egypt’s naval security, security expert Hossam Sweilam told Daily News Egypt.
Sweliam added that the four hostile boats most probably sailed from Damietta, adding: “The four boats were reported missing from the port of Damietta during the period of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
According to initial investigations, the boats were heading to Sinai to support a sophisticated attack, when they encountered a navy vessel guarding the area, Sweliam said.
He added that the military boat contained 13 army personnel, and was confronted by more than 60 militants from the other boats.
“Although the soldiers were outnumbered, the militants’ objectives failed”, he said.
However, Khaled Okasha, former Brigadier General, said it is difficult to conclude what has happened in the Damietta incident, as “we have yet to acquire solid information to analyse and understand the situation”.
Okasha said: “Anyone who claims to know what has happened or what are the implications of the operation is misleading… these opinions are unprofessional”.
He added that it is obvious the state is trying to limit the coverage of the attacks, which “is a successful strategy until investigations take place”.
On Wednesday night, the Egyptian armed forces destroyed four “hostile” boats containing what the military called “terrorist elements”. They also arrested 32 people off the coast of Damietta governorate.
One navy boat was set alight, and five navy personnel were injured and taken to a military hospital. The military also stated that eight of its navy personnel are missing with military forces currently searching for them.
The area in which the clashes occurred has been completely evacuated, the military said.
The navy boat was on patrol 40 miles north of the port of Damietta when gunmen opened fire from several directions.