Friday, April 21, 2017

Egypt's Army Says It Has Killed Prominent Ansar Beit El-Maqdis Leader in Sinai Airstrikes
Ahram Online
Thursday 20 Apr 2017

Egypt's army said on Thursday it has killed a top leader in Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit El-Maqdis during airstrikes in Central and North Sinai.

In an official statement, army spokesman Tamer El-Refaie said the army's air forces conducted strikes in those governorates, killing 19 militants including one of the group's top leaders.

According to the statement, the leader was the head of the group's Sharia Committee and responsible for interrogations.

The army has not publicly identified the leader, but said that 11 of those killed were members of the group's branches in Nile Delta governorates.

This is not the first time the army has announced the killing of a prominent leader in the group this month.

Earlier in April, El-Refai said that group leader Salem Salma El-Hamdeen, known as Abu Anas El-Ansari, had died from injuries sustained in an airstrike on 18 March that killed 188 militants and injured several others.

According to the army, El-Ansari was one of the group's founders and among its most important leaders in North Sinai, involved in arming and training militants in the area.

The militant group's propaganda magazine El-Nabaa mourned the death of the 40-year-old leader through an obituary.

Egypt’s army and police forces have been waging a war against Islamist insurgents in North Sinai for years, with hundreds of security personnel killed, as well as hundreds of militants killed in security campaigns.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail declared the extension of a state of emergency in some areas of North Sinai, imposing a curfew from 1am to 5am in El-Arish, and 7pm to 6am in the areas of El-Ouga, Halal Mountain, the coastal region and Rafah.

Most of the attacks against security personnel and installations in North Sinai in recent years have been claimed by Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group in late 2014.

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