The Egyptian army said Wednesday it killed 25 members of a militia affiliated with Islamic State in the northern Sinai, Sky News Arabia reported.
An aerial attack by military helicopters on a camp of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group killed 25 militants and wounded 15 others, near the border town of Rafah, the report said.
The attack was in response to the killing Sunday night of an Egyptian police major in al-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai. The attack was claimed Monday by the Islamic State group, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The jihadist group’s Egypt affiliate has been waging an insurgency in the peninsula that has killed hundreds of policeman and soldiers.
The group said in a statement circulated on social media that its fighters “assassinated” the major and made off with his car and automatic rifle.
The jihadists have kept up the attacks in Sinai, mostly roadside bombings and ambushes, despite a massive military campaign to uproot IS from the eastern peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Most of the group’s attacks have targeted security forces, but it has also attacked Egyptian Christians and tourists.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has strong ties to Gaza’s Hamas. Israel’s Channel 2 television reported in June that the commander of IS forces in the Sinai made a secret visit to the Gaza Strip to meet with Hamas terror leaders to widen their cooperation and coordinate attacks on Egyptian and Israeli targets.
Shadi al-Menei, one of the founders of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, met with leaders of the Hamas military wing and discussed the ongoing supply of weapons sought by Hamas.
AFP contributed to this report.