Egyptian Forces Kill Ten as Sinai Offensive Continues

Crackdown aims to uproot Islamist terrorist groups from increasingly lawless region

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Ari Soffer,

Egyptian army in Sinai
Egyptian army in Sinai
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Egyptian military forces have killed at least 10 "takfiris" - another term for Sunni jihadis - in the past 48 hours in the Sinai Desert, according to state media.

The latest deaths come nearly two weeks into an operation aimed at clearing the region of Islamist terror groups, who have escalated their attacks against both military and civilian targets since the ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Muhammed Morsi.

On Sunday, a Muslim Brotherhood group claimed responsibility for an attack on an IDF post on the Israel-Egypt border. No one was injured in that attack, but it has raised concerns over a potential spillover into Israel.

The state-run MENA news agency reported that the latest clashes between the Egyptian army and Islamist fighters occurred in the northern part of the Sinai Desert.

In a separate incident, military officials claimed that a group of "militants illegally trespassing from the Gaza Strip" were "tracked down," although it did not specify whether there were any casualties in that incident.

Since the start of the current Sinai offensive, the Egyptian army has also sought to crack down on the activities of Gaza-based terror groups, closing many of the tunnels which are used to smuggle weapons in and out of the Hamas-run territory. Last week, Egyptian forces claimed to have killed dozens of Hamas fighters in the area. 

Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood group with which Morsi was aligned, has been accused by the military of supporting efforts to destabilize the country following his removal.