Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sinai peninsula: 70 "militants" killed after fatal shooting of Egyptian army officer

Seventy militants were killed and another 70 injured Sunday in possible retaliation to the killing one day earlier of a senior Egyptian officer and his driver outside his home in a suburb of Cairo.

Egypt's air forces struck "Islamic State" outposts in northern Sinai peninsula just west of Rafah near the border with Gaza early Sunday morning, according to the Arabic-language version of Sky News. Air forces also attacked vehicles belonging to jihadist extremist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The officer in Saturday's shooting was identified as Brig. Gen. Adel Ragai, commander of the army's Ninth Armored Division, according to state media.

Sumaya Zein el-Abedeen, the general's wife, told state media neighbors saw three gunmen with assault rifles in a vehicle outside the couple's home.

"I heard the gunshots and saw him die before my eyes," she said.

Liwa al-Thawra, a little-known group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ragai commanded an armored division deployed in the Sinai, including overseeing the destruction and flooding of tunnels that ran into the Gaza Strip under the Rafah border.

Egypt is battling several armed groups mainly in the Sinai Peninsula after the military coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi.

Eight days earlier, "Islamic State militants" stormed a military checkpoint in northern Sinai, killing at least 12 soldiers and 15 militants.

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