At least eight Egyptian policemen were killed in North Sinai as the army began a major operation to root out terrorists after the Friday’s deadly attack by the Islamic State which left 12 soldiers dead.
A police officer and four conscripts were killed yesterday after armed terrorists attacked a security patrol in Abu Taweela village in Shiekh Zwayed city of North Sinai. Eight conscripts were injured in the same incident, security sources cited by the local media said.
Another officer was killed in el-Mokataa village after a sniper shot him in the head during a mission in the village located in Sheikh Zwayed. At el-Gora villages in Sheikh Zwayed, a conscript was also killed and two others were injured after a roadside bomb targeted their armored vehicle. A police official was killed and a conscript injured in other attacks in the city, they said.
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Yesterday, the Egyptian military spokesperson Mohamed Samir said in a statement that the army has launched a major campaign to target terrorists and outlawed elements in several areas of North and Central Sinai.
Samir said the campaign is bolstered by ongoing airstrikes against the 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 region.
The first stage of “Martyr’s Right” was launched by security forces in response to an attack in October 2014 that killed 33 security personnel. The recent campaign was launched after the terror attack on a security checkpoint in North Sinai by the Islamic State on Friday that killed 12 soldiers.
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 ex-president Hosni Mubarak, North Sinai, 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 ex-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.