Egypt says it has killed the head of ISIL’s Sinai branch

An Egyptian air strike has killed the head of ISIL’s local branch along with top aides and dozens of other militants, the army said on Thursday.

Abu Doaa Al Ansari was among more than 45 extremists killed in an operation carried out by Egypt’s air force and antiterrorism squad, the army’s spokesman said.

Since Egypt’s military overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013, militants have stepped up attacks on the army and police with near daily attacks in the province of North Sinai.

 Most of the attacks that have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been claimed by the so-called Sinai Province, the Egyptian branch of ISIL.

The army spokesman did not specify when the operation was carried out.

But he said military forces “were able to kill the leader [of] Ansar Beit Al Maqdis, the terrorist called Abu Doaa Al Ansari, and a number of his top aides in addition to more than 45 terrorist elements”.

 Ansar Beit Al Maqdis was the previous name of Sinai Province before it swore allegiance to ISIL in November 2014.

The spokesman said dozens of others were “targeted with precise hits” in the joint operation against strongholds of the group south and south-west of El Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai.

The operation also destroyed depots where weapons, ammunition and explosives were stashed.

 The Sinai Peninsula borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Despite a massive military campaign to uproot ISIL from the Sinai, the group has kept up attacks with roadside bombs and ambushes.

Most of the group’s attacks have targeted security forces but they have also attacked Egyptian Christians and tourists.

The group also claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from an Egyptian resort last year, killing all 224 people on board.


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