Egypt says Islamic State leader in Sinai killed
Egypt's army on Thursday said it killed the head of the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula along with his top aides and dozens of other militants.
Abu Duaa al-Ansari was among more than 45 jihadists killed in the joint operation carried out by the air force and the anti-terrorism squad, said a statement posted on the army spokesman's Facebook page.
Jihadists in the restive Sinai Peninsula have launched an insurgency against government forces since Egypt's military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The majority of the near daily attacks that have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been claimed by "The Sinai Province", the Egyptian branch of IS.
The army's statement said it was "able to kill the leader of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the terrorist called Abu Duaa al-Ansari and a number of his top aides in addition to more than 45 terrorist elements". It did not specify when the operation took place.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was the name used by jihadists in Sinai before they swore allegiance to the Islamic State group in November 2014.
The statement said dozens of others were "targeted with precise hits" in the joint operation against strongholds of the group south and southwest of the Sinai city of al-Arish.
The operation destroyed depots where weapons, ammunition and explosives were stashed, it said.
The Sinai Peninsula borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Al-Arish is the provincial capital of North Sinai where the jihadists are active.
Despite a massive military campaign to uproot IS from Sinai, the jihadists have kept up the attacks with roadside bombs and ambushes in the eastern peninsula.
Most of the group's attacks have targeted security forces but they have also attacked Egyptian Christians and tourists.
The group claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from an Egyptian resort last year, killing all 224 people on board.