Egyptian warplanes strike back at militants
Egyptian warplanes launched new airstrikes and troops went house-to-house Thursday in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, a day after Islamic State-linked militants set off the area’s bloodiest fighting in decades in an unprecedented, co-ordinated attack.
The combat, described as “war’’ by the media and officials, heightened tensions across Egypt as it marks Friday’s second anniversary of the military’s overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a move that fanned an insurgency in north Sinai that has grown stronger.
It also follows the dramatic assassination this week of the country’s chief prosecutor in a car bombing in Cairo, prompting general-turned-politician President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to press for even harsher anti-terrorism laws targeting Islamic militants.
A special forces raid Wednesday on a Cairo apartment killed nine members of Morsi’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which responded by calling for a “rebellion.’’
Air raids at dawn Thursday killed 23 extremists just south of Rafah, a key Sinai border town near the Gaza Strip, Sinai security officials said.