CAIRO: At least 14 suspected militants were killed in the North Sinai towns of Sheikh Zuwayed and Arish early Saturday, Youm7 reported.
“The apache helicopters shelled several hideouts of the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militant group south of Sinai, destroying explosive devices storerooms and blowing up two bomb-laden vehicles,” Youm7 reported military spokesperson Mohamed Samir as saying Saturday.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which claimed responsibility for several attacks on military checkpoints and institutions, changed its name to Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group last November.
Egypt has witnessed a significant rise in militancy since the military-backed ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.
On July 1, a number of security checkpoints and a police station in Sheikh Zuwayed were attacked in what was labeled by the army as “a failed attempt to take over the town.”
The attacks killed 17 army personnel and no less than 100 militants, according to military statement.
In January, President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi created a unified military command for east of the Suez Canal, led by General Osama Askar, to combat terrorism.