Eighteen Takfiri militants and 11 security officials, including eight policemen, were killed as the Egyptian army began rooting out terrorists in North and Central Sinai in retaliation for the Friday’s deadly attack by the Islamic State that left 12 military personnel dead. Egyptian military spokesperson Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said in a statement that the army killed 18 Takfiri militants in the operation yesterday which is aimed to target terrorists and outlaw elements from several areas in the North and Central Sinai region.
Three soldiers were killed and two others injured during the operation as the Air Force destroyed 16 shelters used by the Takfiri elements while artillery and ground forces attacked other targets which belong to the terrorists in North Sinai, he said. Local media also reported citing security sources that eight policemen, including 3 officials and five conscripts were killed in the army campaign yesterday in different villages of Shiekh Zwayed city in North Sinai.
Four vehicles and 14 motorcycles used by the terrorists in their attacks were destroyed and a large number of weapons were also ceased, Samir said. He said the campaign is bolstered by ongoing airstrikes against militant positions where security operations are taking place.
This is the second comprehensive campaign launched by the army since the three-stage campaign of the “Martyr’s Right”, the largest and most comprehensive military operation that aimed at rooting out militants based in the restive North Sinai. The first stage of “Martyr’s Right” was launched by the security forces in response to an attack in October 2014 that killed 33 security personnel.
Egypt has witnessed a series of terrorist attacks targeting policemen, judges and military personnel in different parts of the country. Since the 2011 revolution that toppled the regime of then President Hosni Mubarak, North Sinai, which is the base of a number of extremist outlaw groups, became the main stage of many violent attacks by Takfiri gunmen.
The attacks increased after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 following massive protests against his rule. Over 700 security personnel have been reportedly killed since then. The military has launched security campaigns in the area, arrested suspects and demolished houses that belong to terrorists, including those facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.