Commander of Jihadist Group Killed in Sinai

Egypt's army kills a field commander for the jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Ben Ariel ,

Remains of Egyptian firefight in Sinai with t
Remains of Egyptian firefight in Sinai with t

Egypt's army on Thursday killed a field commander for Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the country's most dangerous Islamist group, Reuters reported, citing local security sources.

The man was killed during clashes in the northern Sinai Peninsula, the sources said.

Mohamed Abu Shatiya, who took part in the kidnapping of seven Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last year, died during fighting with the army south of Rafah, on the border with Gaza.

Two tons of explosives were confiscated from a nearby tunnel connecting Sinai to Gaza during the incident, the sources said, according to Reuters.

Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police over the last year and beheaded several people in recent weeks, saying they were spies for Israeli intelligence.

Among the attacks claimed by the group since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood, and a bus bombing on a tour bus filled with South Korean tourists in the Sinai. 

The group has also claimed responsibility for several rocket attacks that targeted the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Egyptian security officials have said Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has contacts with the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), now targeted by U.S.-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria after sweeping through border areas and declaring a state.