Egyptian fighter pilots struck and killed 100 ISIS terrorists and wounded at least 40 others in a concentrated three-hour bombing campaign before dawn on Saturday in the Sinai Peninsula.
The air strikes came in retaliation for a terror attack Friday by the ‘Sinai Province’ branch of ISIS that left 20 Egyptian soldiers dead, Sky News Arabic service reported.
“The blood of the nation of Egypt was spilled in the sands of Sinai only increases the desire and determination to complete the campaign (against the terrorists),” President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said Friday in a post on his Facebook page intended to console the bereaved families of the killed Egyptian soldiers.
Saudi Arabia led a list of Arab nations who condemned the ISIS attack on the Egyptian soldiers.
Speaking to local reporters, el-Sisi emphasized, “The war against ISIS in Sinai will be long, but the ability to fight them has improved and the weapons used to fight them have also gotten better.”
The Egyptian Air Force struck well-known terror targets throughout the Sinai Peninsula, including weapons storehouses and military vehicles used by terror groups, the Egyptian military said in a statement.
Air strikes were aimed at terrorist targets in northern Sinai cities that included Rafah, el-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid. Various weapons were captured from the terrorists, including more than 260 different types of assault rifles, the Egyptian Interior Ministry noted.
Israel military leaders have said they expect an attack some time within the next few months on the southern border by the same terrorists, called Wilayat Sinai in Arabic.
The group took responsibility for downing a Russian Metrojet passenger jet in October 2015, killing all 224 passengers on board after departure from the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Preparations by the Israel Defense Forces have been underway for some time to create an effective defense against the expected assault. The group has amassed an arsenal in the Sinai, just about 50 miles from Israel’s southern border, including at least one Egyptian M60 battle tank, and a number of Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles, each with a range of 3 miles.Hana Levi Julian