Egypt Retaliates After Losing 12 Soldiers, Kills Over 100 Militants in Sinai

The airstrike comes a day after ISIS claimed responsibility for killing 12 members of Egypt's military in central Sinai – the biggest offensive in months.

Jack Khoury and AP
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Egyptian military video of the attackCredit: YouTube
Jack Khoury and AP

Following the killing on Friday by Islamic militants of 12 members of the Egyptian military at a checkpoint in northern Sinai Friday, Egyptian Air Force F-16 fighter jets attacked targets at three locations in northern Sinai, according to reports citing military sources. The air force operations killed more than 100 members of the Islamic State group and wounded approximately another 40, some of them seriously, reports from the ground said.

Some of the militants are said to have tried to flee in all-terrain vehicles but where directly attacked in air force bombing runs that lasted about three hours. The Egyptian air force operation was termed one of the most massive against the ISIS affiliate in Sinai in recent months. The air force attacks in northern Sinai were reportedly carried out in the Rafah area, in the vicinity of El-Arish and in the Sheikh Zuweid area.

Islamist militants killed 12 members of Egypt's military in the North Sinai province and wounded six more in the attack on the checkpoint, the Egyptian military said on Friday.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the military, which took place 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the town of Bir al-Abd, making it the first major attack in the central Sinai area, which had so far escaped the militant Islamists' campaign.

It was carried out using assault rifles and some heavier weapons, medical and security sources said. The wounded were taken to hospital in al-Arish.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said Saturday the war against Islamic militants in Sinai will be long, but that conditions in the vast and arid region were improving.

Speaking in an interview with Egypt's three state-owned newspapers, he acknowledged that both the militants and government forces were getting better at fighting each other in the strategic area bordering Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"Conditions in Sinai are improving and (our) efforts are continuing because the war is long," said Sissi.

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