Egypt launches airstrikes on IS affiliate in Sinai, killing 15

Fighter jets enter Gaza airspace in attacks on jihadists; shell fired by terrorists kills family of 5

An Egyptian Air Force F-16 fighter jet (screen capture: YouTube)
An Egyptian Air Force F-16 fighter jet (screen capture: YouTube)

The Egyptian air force began intensive airstrikes on Thursday morning against a local branch of the Islamic State group in Egyptian Rafah, near the border with the Gaza Strip, local media reported.

Palestinian sources were quoted by the Walla news site as saying that Egyptian fighter jets were entering Gaza’s airspace in their attacks on the Wilayat Sinaa group (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis), which has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks on Egyptian soldiers and civilians over the last two years.

Sky News Arabia reported that 15 people had been killed in the airstrikes.

Egyptian officials said Thursday that militants in the restive northern Sinai had shelled a home near a security checkpoint in Rafah, killing an entire family of five and wounding a teenage neighbor.

Medical and security officials said that one of the victims, a five-year-old girl, remains buried under the rubble of the demolished home. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sinai has been plagued for years by an insurgency, which escalated after the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi amid mass protests against him.

Wilayat Sinaa has targeted Egyptian troops and civilians in the Sinai and claimed the October 31 downing of a Russian airliner that killed 224 people.

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