Egypt: Sinai attacks, army starts striking back

'Large offensive with helicopters' kicks off, according to media

30 January, 14:39

    Egyptian army strikes back in Sinai, media reports Egyptian army strikes back in Sinai, media reports

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, JANUARY 30 - The Egyptian army has ''started a large offensive'' in the Sinai peninsula, deploying Apache helicopters, in response to four coordinated terror attacks yesterday against security force positions in northern Sinai, Egyptian daily Al-Ahram announced in a tweet.

    Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has cut short his trip to Ethiopia, where he was attending an African Union summit, to return to Egypt in the wake of a terror attack Thursday in northern Sinai, Mena news agency reported on Friday, quoting the president's office.

    Sisi will attend the inaugural session of the summit and then return to Cairo, according to the announcement early this morning.

    According to the latest unofficial toll, 26 people have died and 59 others have been injured in coordinated attacks in three centers in the northern part of the peninsula.

    The coordinated attacks have been claimed by a terror group affiliated with ISIS.

    The jihadists claimed responsibility on a Twitter account linked to the 'Ansar Bait al-Maqdis' group - or Partisans of Jerusalem - the main jihadist group in Egypt, which is based in the peninsula and has just renamed itself 'Sinai State' as part of its alliance with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

    The group which calls itself 'Welayet Sinai' (State of Sinai) in the message claimed responsibility for the ''major simultaneous attack'' in the centers of Al Arish, Sheik Zuweid and Rafah, the city at the border with Gaza.

    The terrorists divided the attack in four parts: one ''against the battalion 101 Dayet el Salam with three car bombs'' and the other three against checkpoints in the three cities.

    Local media immediately blamed the attacks on the 'Partisans of Jerusalem'.

    The death toll is only slightly lower than the one reported in a car bomb attack and subsequent shootout claimed by the Ansar group in northern Sinai which killed at least 31 people last October - the deadliest attack in a year and a half.


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