Egypt army says killed 60 gunmen in North Sinai; toll points to big jihadist force in region

Military says wounded another 40 terrorist and destroyed 27 four-wheel pick-up trucks, suggesting a massive deployment by the militants

EGYPT’S army killed 60 gunmen Friday in clashes in the Sinai Peninsula where it is battling a jihadist insurgency, an army spokesman said.

Army “counterterrorism units backed by the air force” Friday “killed 60 terrorists, wounded another 40 and destroyed 27 four-wheel pick-up trucks south of Rafah and Sheikh Zayed” in North Sinai, the spokesman said on his official Facebook page.

This toll could not be independently verified.

However, if the army killed so many jihadists in a single day, wounded 40 and destroyed 27 pick-ups, it suggests that the insurgent force in the Sinai is quite large.

Since Egypt’s military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, jihadists attacks on the army and police have persisted despite an army campaign against them.

The local affiliate of the jihadist Islamic State group claimed last week on a police checkpoint near North Sinai’s provincial capital of El-Arish that killed 15 policemen.

IS also claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian airliner in October that killed all 224 people on board, minutes after it took off from a South Sinai beach resort.

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