Egyptian military airstrike kills 12 militants in Sinai

June 20, 2017 10:30 pm

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense on February 16, 2015 shows an Egyptian air force fighter jet landing at an undisclosed location in following airstrikes to target militants in Libya. (AFP photo)

The Egyptian has carried out a major airstrike in the northern region, killing 12 militants loyal to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the area.
A statement on Tuesday said the militants were targeted while gathering at an undisclosed location in Sinai. It did not elaborate when the attack took place but said several four-wheel-drive vehicles were also destroyed in the strike.
The military described the dead as “highly dangerous” leaders of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a militant group which declared war on the Egyptian government after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The group later pledged allegiance to Daesh and rebranded itself as the Sinai Peninsula of the Takfiris who operate in Iraq and Syria. When Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, the former army chief and the leader of the coup against Morsi, came to power as president in 2014, he launched an all-out military operation to oust militants from Sinai. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in the confrontation since then.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (AFP photo)

Sisi’s air campaign against militants expanded to Libya earlier this month after he blamed terror cells in the neighboring country for orchestrating a massive attack on Coptic Christians that killed 29 people. Copts have become a major target of militant attacks in Egypt as more than 100 members of the community have been killed in bombings at Coptic churches over the past months.
Rights campaigners have criticized Sisi for inflicting casualties on civilians in his campaign against militants. They challenge figures provided by the government on the death of thousands of militants in Sinai, saying it includes civilians living in the thinly populated region.
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