Egyptian Army spokesperson Col. Tamer a-Rifai denied the New York Times report claiming Egypt sanctioned over a 100 Israeli airstrikes in North Sinai in the last two years to aid combat the Islamic State.
In an interview to Sada Elbalad newspaper, A-Rifai said late Sunday that Egypt's security forces are the only ones combating terrorist in the area. Addressing media outlets in Egypt, A-Rifai requested they do not report unreliable information that was not approved by the Egyptian army.
According to a New York Tims report, Egypt has permitted Israel to conduct over a hundred aerial raids on the Islamic State group affiliate in Sinai, the restive desert peninsula that shares a border with Israel.
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The report details what it calls a "covert war" in Sinai in which "unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets" have been allowed to carry out over 100 raids inside Egyptian territory for over two years, at times more than once a week.
According to the report, American officials credit the wave of Israeli airstrikes — which the Times said began at around the time that the Sinai Province branch of Islamic State brought down a Russian charter plane over the peninsula, resulting in the deaths of the 224 people it carried — "with killing a long roster of militant leaders" in Sinai.
The Times cited as sources for its report "[s]even current or former British and American officials involved in Middle East policy," all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.