Ansar Beit Almaqudes Terrorists militant publish Military Helicopter Attack
A military helicopter crashed in Egypt’s North Sinai near Sheikh Zwayed
Egypt’s Sinai has witnessed an escalation in attacks by militants against the army and police
Spokesman of Egypt’s military says an army helicopter crashed and its crew is missing in the northern Sinai Peninsula, where troops are battling Islamic militants.
Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali says in a statement that the accident took place early Saturday near the village of el-Kharouba village. He provided no further details on the cause of the crash.
The Egyptian military has been waging operations for months in the northern Sinai to uproot Islamic militants who took hold of several towns and villages in the aftermath of 2011 uprising.
Sinai-based groups intensified their militancy after the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3 military coup. One group, Ansar Beit al-Muqdis claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in Cairo Friday that killed six.
The restive Sinai Peninsula has long been considered a safe haven for militants and criminal gangs who use the region as a base for terror activities. In recent months, the remote desert region has been the scene of growing violence and militant attacks on security forces.
Since the ouster of former Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, on July 3, militant groups have launched almost daily attacks in Sinai, killing members of the security forces.
In response, Cairo has launched offensives against the militants, sending thousands of troops backed by tanks and heavy equipment into the region.
Masked men killed three soldiers and left others injured after they opened fire in an early morning attack in central Sinai on Sunday.
According to the official page of military spokesman Ahmed Ali, the attack left 11 soldiers injured. Assailants used a four wheel drive to carry out the attack on the bus carrying military personnel.
Interim President Adly Mansour said in a televised speech on Sunday afternoon that “terrorist attacks aim at breaking the will of Egyptians,” adding that “the will of Egyptians will not break”.
He announced that he had requested from the head of the Appeals Court the increase of the number of circuits handling trials of those suspected of being involved in such attacks.
Mansour said: “We will not hesitate to take exceptional measures if necessary.”
Prime Minsiter Hazem El-Beblawi mourned the death of the soldiers in a statement released on Sunday.
This attack comes one day after a military helicopter was shot down in North Sinai, for which militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility, killing five soldiers.
After the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July, militancy surged in the Sinai and security forces have been increasingly targeted.
One attack targeting a bus in November left 11 soldiers dead and over a dozen injured. One of the deadliest attacks in Sinai took place in August, when armed men killed 25 police soldiers in Rafah.
Last week, unidentified assailants attacked a gas pipeline in the area of Risan in central Sinai. The attack was carried out using improvised explosive devices.
Typically, militancy has been concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula; however, on Friday, four blasts went off in different areas in Greater Cairo, killing six people and injuring more.
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has also claimed responsibility for bombings in the capital. The group had also previously claimed responsibility for the failed assassination attempt on interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim.