Egypt army kills 16 jihadists in Sinai

Sixteen militants were killed and four arrested in a major security operation launched by Egypt, the military said on Sunday, the first casualties in a campaign aimed at crushing insurgents behind a string of attacks.

A video recording posted on social media, purportedly from a group affiliated to Islamic State, appeared to showed masked militants executing soldiers and civilians they accused of collaborating with security forces.

In this footage, the spokesperson for the Egyptian Army announced a comprehensive confrontation with criminal terrorist organizations in the Sinai and an operation by the coast guard and border forces to secure ports of entry to Egypt.

"The air force targeted and destroyed 66 targets used by terrorist elements to hide from air and artillery attacks", for shelter during raids by security forces, he said in a statement. Members of the armed forces are barred by law from expressing political opinions in Egypt. Konsowa said he had submitted his resignation to the army in 2014 and it was denied.

Hundreds of police and army personnel were killed since then.

The New York Times says Israeli warplanes have carried out covert air strikes in Egypt with the Egyptian president's approval.

The operation comes less than two months before presidential elections in Egypt set for March 26, according to Reuters.

On November 29, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave the military a three-month deadline to clear the Sinai Peninsula of militants, days after terrorists staged a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in northern Sinai that killed over 300 worshippers.

In addition to its attacks on Christians, IS has adopted a threatening tone against Sufi Muslims, whom it considers to be heretics. IS has beheaded a number of Sufi men whom it accused of "sorcery".

At least 10 terrorists have been killed on Sunday during a police raid in Arish city of Egypt's North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, a security source and medics told Xinhua. Last year, militants attacked a Sufi mosque in the region, killing 311 worshipers.

  • Rogelio Becker