Egyptian military officials said Wednesday that troops backed by helicopters and armored vehicles have killed eight terrorists in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
The officials who were quoted by The Associated Press (AP) said that the dead included a senior member of the Al-Qaeda inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The Wednesday air raids and assaults in the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid come less than a week after terrorist from the group shot down a military helicopter with a shoulder-fired missile, killing all its crew and alarming authorities about the use of sophisticated weaponry.
The officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
On Tuesday, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood.
The group threatened similar attacks against the army chief and the interior minister, who was already the target of a failed assassination attempt claimed by the group last September in which a bystander was killed.
The group had previously claimed a car bombing which killed five people outside Cairo police headquarters last Friday. The group has in the past also claimed rocket attacks on the Israeli resort city of Eilat.
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.