Clashes in Sinai kill 50 soldiers

Ongoing fierce clashes in North Sinai between Egyptian army and militants belonging to Ansar Beit al Maqdis kill and injure dozens

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

At least 50 killed and dozens injured, including Egyptian army soldiers, as militants belonging to Ansar Beit al Maqdis went on an offensive rampage on several military checkpoints  in Sheikh Zuwaid in Egypt’s North Sinai. According to Al-Ahram, five military checkpoints were attacked by heavily armed militants.

Sinai Now TV chief Mostafa Singer described the town of Sheikh Zuwaid on his facebook page saying, “Militants stormed the town forcing locals to stay home in fear for their lives, Egyptian army F16s and Apaches towers over the city which suffers lack of ambulance cars and healthcare, locals say the air smells like gunpowder, and the air is unclear because of the frequent explosions’ smoke.”

Sources on the ground told Al-Qahera Al-Youm that the number of casualties can significantly increase, as dozens more soldiers were abducted from the scene.

Army soldiers also reportedly killed around 22 militants from the Ansar Beit al Maqdis group, according to the Egyptian army spokesperson.

The militants declared allegiance to ISIS last year. Ansar Beit al Maqdis have previously called for attacks on the army, police and judicial officials.

The attack comes only two days after the country’s top prosecutor general, Hesham Barakat, was killed in a car bombing in Cairo on Monday.

A similar attack took place on May 16, when a car carrying three young judges was riddled with bullets, killing them all.

Meanwhile, Al-Qahera Al-Youm reported that 10 civilians have been killed or injured in the attacks which were waged by up to 70 militants.

By the break of Wednesday’s dawn, massive explosions and gunfire erupted in the Sheikh Zuwaid area. At approximately 09:30 local time (06:30 GMT), a large explosion rocked the area - reportedly the result of a suicide truck bomb, according to Youm7.

Unverified reports from Al-Marsad Al-Sinawi, a Sinai-based news outlet, states that an Apache helicopter was hit by a militant missile and was forced to withdraw from the battlefield.

Egypt is currently battling an armed insurgency in Sinai which has seen hundreds of police and army officials killed since the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was deposed in a military coup in July 2013.

Morsi was forced to step down after a brutal military coup and crackdown on his supporters, including the bloody dispersal of camp sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabia and Nahda Squares, which saw around 900 Muslim Brotherhood supporters killed.

TRTWorld and agencies