More than 30 suspected gunmen killed by Egyptian airstrike in North Sinai

Published June 29th, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
Illustrative photo of an Egyptian member of the armed forces in northern Sinai. (AFP/File)
Illustrative photo of an Egyptian member of the armed forces in northern Sinai. (AFP/File)

The Egyptian army killed more than 30 suspected gunmen on Tuesday night when it launched multiple airstrikes at bunkers of reportedly used by the Sinai Province group in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian security sources told Ma’an.

The sources said that five airstrikes targeted bunkers of “hardliners” affiliated to Sinai Province -- a group formerly Ansar Beit al-Maqdis -- near the villages of Beit Amira, al-Shalaq and al-Lufitat south of the town of Sheikh Zuweid. The airstrikes, they said, killed 33 gunmen and injured more than 50.

The operation helped foil a number of attacks the group planned against the Egyptian army, the sources claimed.

The main electricity line feeding the Egyptian towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid in the North Sinai district, as well as parts of the southern Gaza Strip, was harmed by the Egyptian airstrikes.

The besieged Palestinian enclave has already experienced severe electricity shortages in past months, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.

Even at full capacity, Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza's sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy needs. The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel's crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.

Egyptian military and police forces have been the target of ongoing attacks, which have increased since Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi took power from democratically-elected Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. 

Sisi has come under attack following his violent suppression of Muslim Brotherhood members following his rise to power, which he has argued is necessary to deter future attacks in the Sinai and across Egypt. 

Sinai Province, the militant group responsible for a majority of attacks on military personnel in the Sinai, aligned with the Islamic State group in November 2014.

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