An Apache helicopter flies over Tahrir Square during a protest to support the army, in Cairo July 26, 2013. REUTERS/AMR ABDALLAH DALSH
NORTH SINAI, Oct 26 (Aswat Masriya) – Five "extremists" were killed in military air raids on North Sinai's Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid regions early Sunday, military sources said.
An apache shelled a car with a cannon on top carrying three "extremists", the sources told Aswat Masriya. The second raid killed two more "extremists" south of the Sheikh Zuweid region, injuring eight others.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in parts of the Sinai Peninsula in response to deadly militant attacks on Friday which rendered at least 33 security personnel killed.
At least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid on Friday, security sources told Reuters. The explosion also caused damage to two military vehicles.
Shortly afterwards, a separate attack by unidentified gunmen on a security checkpoint in al-Arish killed three more security personnel.
During a national address delivered on Saturday's, Sisi noted that the "outcome" of the work done in the Peninsula during the past months is "huge".
"Every day, tens of terrorists fall as casualties [in Sinai]," Sisi said. "We have eliminated hundreds of terrorists."
Egypt's security forces have intensified their security measures in North Sinai in reaction to repeated militant attacks that target army and police officials, which rose significantly since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last year. The attacks soon expanded to other areas of the country, including the capital.
A fact-sheet prepared by Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs put the death toll for terrorism acts which took place since January 2011 and until April 2014 at 971, including 664 security personnel. The number of casualties significantly rose since then.
Reviewing statements and press releases by security forces, Aswat Masriya counted the death of 82 people – 62 security personnel and 20 civilians, in the past two months in the Sinai Peninsula. The number is over four times that of those killed in the Peninsula during the months of June and July; 17 people including eight security personnel and nine civilians.