NORTH SINAI, Jul 31 (Aswat Masriya) - Security forces shelled areas of the North Sinai towns of al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid on Friday, killing 20 suspected militants, military sources said.
The targeted areas were the site of a gathering of members of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis militant group, sources said. They added that the targeted members were planning attacks on security headquarters, to coincide with the launch of a new canal parallel to the Suez Canal, due next Thursday.
Eye witnesses told Aswat Masriya they saw Ansar "members dragging injured colleagues" from the scene of the shelling before security forces reached the area.
Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai peninsula, since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which changed its name to Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to Islamic State fighters last November, claims responsibility for the majority of the attacks in the peninsula.