Egyptian air force hammers Sinai jihadists, 70 said killed

Pre-dawn strikes on Islamic State-aligned group injure another 70, destroy vehicles

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Smoke rises after an airstrike in the Sinai city of Rafah as seen from Gaza on July 1, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)
Smoke rises after an airstrike in the Sinai city of Rafah as seen from Gaza on July 1, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)

The Egyptian Air Force Sunday pounded jihadist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, reportedly killing 70 fighters and injuring another 70, the day after an Egyptian general was shot dead outside his home in the capital Cairo.

In a series of predawn raids, jets targeted the Islamic State-aligned Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group in the village of Bolus between Sheikh Zuwaid and the city of Rafah in northern Sinai, the British Sky News Arabic website reported.

Several SUV vehicles and motorcycles used by the militants were also destroyed.

Security forces told Sky News that Egyptian soldiers also thwarted a terror attack by uncovering four bombs planted at a communications site in the area.

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The raids, among the most extensive carried out by the Egyptian military in its ongoing campaign against jihadists in the restive peninsula, followed the gunning down of Brigadier General Adel Ragaei. Ragaei, who commanded an armored division deployed in Sinai, died in a hail of bullets as he left his home in the Obour City suburb, a family member told AFP.

Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State group are waging a fierce insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

They have also claimed attacks in or near Cairo, including the abduction and murder of a Croatian oil worker and the bombing of the Italian consulate in 2015.

Other lesser-known groups have also conducted attacks since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his supporters.

AFP contributed to this report.

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