CAIRO - An Islamist militant group operating in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula bordering with Israel warned the Egyptian army on Wednesday that an ongoing military crackdown on jihadists in the area will force it to fight back.
The Egyptian army has been hunting militants in the Sinai desert since an attack last week on Egyptian border guards that killed 16 soldiers. Egypt blamed the attack on Islamist militants.
The army operation is the biggest in almost three decades in the tense border region where troop and army vehicle movements are strictly limited under the terms of Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
"We have never raised our weapons against the Egyptian army," the Salafi Jihadi, one of the biggest jihadist groups in the Sinai, said in a statement. "So stop the bloodshed or else you will be dragging us into a battle that is not ours," the group said, addressing the Egyptian army.