Egypt military behind Sinai air raid

Military says one of its aircraft carried out Friday's attack killing four fighters, though armed group blamed Israel.

    A funeral convoy has carried the bodies of the fighters through the Sinai region
    A funeral convoy has carried the bodies of the fighters through the Sinai region

    The Egyptian military has confirmed that Friday's air raid on targets in the Sinai region that killed four fighters was carried out by one of its aircraft.

    The armed group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis had earlier said Israeli drones were behind the attack. It further accused the Egyptian army of co-ordinating the attack with the Israelis.

    A funeral was held for the fighters on Saturday, with the bodies of the four driven through several border towns in Sinai.

    "Our heroes became martyrs during their jihadi duties against the Jews in a rocket attack on occupied lands," Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis said on its website.

    Bodies of the four fighters were driven through several border towns in north Sinai.

    Fresh assault

    Dozens of men on pick-up trucks flying their black flag paraded through the towns, in an act of defiance to the army, witnesses said.

    Hours later, Egyptian military helicopters targeted fighters in a fresh assault near the village of Touma in north Sinai, according to witnesses.

    Colonel Ahmed Aly, the military spokesman, said in a written statement that the military "surveilled and dealt with a group of terrorists" involved in past attacks in the peninsula.

    Fighters based mainly in north Sinai near Israel's border have escalated attacks on security forces and other targets since July 3, when the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi and installed a new government in Cairo.

    But the army has been reluctant to confront the fighters inside towns in order not to provoke the tight-knit tribes, military sources said.

    There had been conflicting reports about the source of Friday's attack.

    Egypt and Israel have co-operated in tackling armed groups in Sinai in the past. The Egyptian army said on Wednesday it had killed 60 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula in the month since Mohamed Morsi was deposed as president. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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