Report: Egyptian warplanes bomb Islamist terror bases in Sinai after deadly attacks

Army decides to deploy special forces to the northern Sinai following attacks that killed dozens.

By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA, REUTERS
January 31, 2015 11:41
2 minute read.
Ansar Bayit al-Maqdis

A poster issued by Egyptian terrorist group Ansar Bayit al-Maqdis. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Following the attacks carried out by Islamists in the Sinai peninsula on Thursday in which twenty-seven people were killed, Egyptian army warplanes were bombing terrorist bases in the area on Saturday, Egyptian media reported. 

Islamic State's Egypt wing claimed responsibility for the Thursday attacks in some of the worst anti-state violence in months, after commemorations around the anniversary of the 2011 uprising turned deadly this week.

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The Egyptian army has also decided to deploy special forces to the northern Sinai in the wake of the Thursday attacks, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported on Saturday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was set to meet on Saturday with his national security council in order to review the new terror-fighting strategy in the lawless peninsula, according to the report. 

A senior military source in Egypt told Ma'an that the Thursday attacks were sophisticated and they signified an improvement in the abilities of the country's most active militant group  Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The source said that one of the cars that exploded on Thursday belonged to the state and was stolen a few days earlier from the local water authority. 
 
Egypt's government faces an Islamist insurgency based in Sinai and growing discontent with what critics perceive as heavy handed security tactics.

A series of tweets from the Sinai Province's Twitter account claimed responsibility for each of the four attacks that took place in North Sinai and Suez provinces within hours of one another on Thursday night.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis changed its name to Sinai Province last year after swearing allegiance to Islamic State, the hardline Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing US-led airstrikes.

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Thursday's first attack was a bombing targeting a military headquarters, base and hotel in the capital of North Sinai province that killed 25 and wounded at least 58, including nine civilians, security and medical sources said.

Later, suspected militants killed an army major and wounded six others at a checkpoint in Rafah, followed by a roadside bomb in Suez city that killed a police officer, and an assault on a checkpoint south of Al-Arish that wounded four soldiers, security sources said.

Sinai-based militants have killed hundreds of security officers since President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power following mass protests against his rule.

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