The Egyptian army has announced that on Saturday, it carried out air strikes lasting three hours, targeting sites of militant groups loyal to the Islamic State (Daesh) in North Sinai governorate. The announcement came 24 hours after an attack which killed 12 soldiers, and for which the militants have claimed responsibility.
A statement issued by the General Command of the Armed Forces said, “In retaliation for the blood of the martyrs, a number of aerial formations took off at dawn on Saturday… to scout the target area and confirm coordinates, before the execution of targeted air strikes which lasted 3 hours.”
The statement added that the strike “resulted in the destruction of central and lodging areas for terrorist elements, as well as weapons and ammunition depots and the total destruction of seven SUV vehicles. A number of Takfiri elements who were carrying out criminal operations, along with their assistants, were also killed.”
A spokesman for the Egyptian military had reported yesterday that 12 soldiers and 15 militants were killed during a clash in Bir al-Abed in north Sinai, with injuries afflicting both sides. ‘Wilayah Sinai’ claimed responsibility for the attack, announcing that they had killed more than 20 military men and wounded others, as well as capturing weapons and ammunition and returning their fighters to safety.
Security sources also say that a recruit was killed today by a bullet to the head at a checkpoint south of Sheikh Zuweid, one of the three towns affected by the clashes in northern Sinai, along with Arish, capital of the governorate, and Rafah, located along the border with the Gaza Strip. A source reported that sniper fire was witnessed at the checkpoint.
The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior announced in a statement today that police had foiled two attempts to smuggle large quantities of weapons and ammunition into northern Sinai. The first was from a farm on the border between the eastern provinces and nearby Ismailia, and the second from a warehouse in Beni Suef, south of Cairo. The statement added that the police had confiscated hundreds of rifles and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, alongside arresting a number of people described in the statement as belonging to terrorist groups.
Translated by Conor Fagan