EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- For the first time since the October War in 1973, the Egyptian army on Wednesday launched airstrikes in the Sinai Peninsula targeting extremist groups. More than 20 were killed.
A Ma’an reporter in el-Arish said Egyptian helicopters targeted armored vehicles belonging to "terrorists" in the villages of al-Toumah, al-Shallaq, and al-Atayqa.
The airstrikes started at 3 a.m. and stopped at 5 a.m. causing serious casualties.
Infantry soldiers then besieged what they described as extremist militants with the help of Bedouin tribes trying to control al-Toumah village, which houses the largest number of suspected militants.
Egyptian security sources said the groups fought back and attacked bunkers in el-Arish. Six officials were injured, according to one source, during fierce clashes between troops and the attacking militants.
Military sources told Ma'an that a bunker near el-Arish airport and other bunkers in the city were attacked by jihadists. Two officers and a civilian were injured in the attacks. The civilian was hit by a gunshot to the head and was transferred to el-Arish Hospital. Medics described the case as critical.
The attackers at the army bunker wore black uniforms similar to those who carried out Sunday’s attack killing 16 Egyptian officers, another Egyptian military source explained.
“There are states behind what the terrorists are doing in Sinai. It is far beyond Sinai groups' level,” he said.