Unknown warplanes strike northern Sinai following militant attack

Unknown warplanes strike northern Sinai following militant attack
2 min read
11 June, 2019
Warplanes have struck targets in the Sinai, six days after a militant attack killed eight soldiers.
Egyptian police have been engaged in a major security operation in Sinai [Getty Archive]

Warplanes of unknown origin have carried out airstrikes on cities in northern Sinai, local sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

The airstrikes took place six days after an attack claimed by a local Islamic State group-affiliate which killed at least eight Egyptian soldiers.

The sources said that the planes had hit targets to the west of Rafah and to the south of Sheikh Zuwayed. The targeted areas included residential buildings and agricultural areas but no casualties were reported.

In the past few days, Israeli drones have been flying over the area while Israeli helicopters have bombed targets south of Rafah, the sources reported.

On Tuesday, IS' local affiliate, known as "Wilayat Sinai", published details about its previous attack on Egyptian soldiers.

"Wilayat Sinai" militants attacked four Egyptian army checkpoints simultaneously, killing 15 soldiers and capturing weapons and an armoured vehicle from one of the checkpoints - known as Batal 14 - IS said in its magazine, Nabaa.

The attack happened as people were preparing to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival, which follows the holy month of Ramadan.

Since February 2018, the Egyptian military have been engaged in a major operation to assert control over northern Sinai as IS-affiliated militants make their presence felt in the area, carrying out frequent attacks on the military and police.

The Egyptian security forces killed five militants immediately following "Wilayat Sinai's" attack on checkpoints last week.

Since then the Egyptian interior ministry has announced that security forces have killed 26 people involved in the attacks.

The ministry, however, did not publish the names of those killed and "Wilayat Sinai's" claim of responsibility for the attacks only mentioned a small number of individuals.

Human Rights Watch has criticised the Egyptian military and IS militants for committing "war crimes" against civilians.