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Published On: Fri, Apr 21st, 2017

Egyptian Military Killed 19 ISIS Militants Including Head of Sharia Committee

nsnbc : Egypt’s armed forces, on Thursday, reported that 19 ISIS militants including a top-leader were killed in air strikes carried out in Central and North Sinai provinces.

Egyptian F-15 (archives)

Egyptian F-16(archives)

The armed forces released a statement by a military spokesman who said the leader of the Sharia committee of the self-proclaimed Islamic State franchise in Egypt is among those who were killed in the air strikes.

The spokesman did not explicitly named the name of the head of the Sharia council nor names of the other militants but merely stated that the Sharia council head was responsible for interrogations.

Four vehicles of the group were reportedly also killed in the air strikes. Moreover, it was stated that eleven of those who were killed were operating in the Nile Delta governorates.

The announcement about the air strikes came two days after the Egyptian Islamic State franchise (Wilayat Sinai, previously known as Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis – ABM)) claimed responsibility for an attack at a security checkpoint that took place near St Catherine monastery, killing one police officer and injuring four others.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry announced that the militant who attacked the checkpoint was killed in a police shooting. The group also claimed responsibility for a twin attack that hit two churches earlier this month, killing 47 and injuring more than 100.

Egypt has been faced with an increased risk of terrorism from Islamist insurgents after the overthrow of the now imprisoned ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, in a people-powered military coup.

The at that time relatively fringe and small Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis has since then undergone an evolution that has turned it from a group that could carry out small-scale attacks targeting police and military officers and carrying out small strategic bombings, to a veritable insurgency.

This “successful transformation” was possible because ABM brought its own fighters, some fighters linked to the Muslim Brotherhood’s armed wing, parts of the Hamas-linked Qassam Brigades, as well as Islamist fighters from Libya under one relatively centralized command structure while changing its name to Wilayat Sinai and declaring allegiance to the Islamic State.

It is worth noting that the air strikes also were carried out against the backdrop of the meeting between Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the United States’ (U.S.) Defense Secretary James Mattis in Cairo on Thursday where they discussed military cooperation between the two countries.

F/AK – nsnbc 21.04.2017

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