More than 240 militants have been killed in the last five days as Egypt's army escalates its crackdown on militants responsible for last week’s bloody attack on a North Sinai town, Egypt’s army said. Dozens of others, including four wanted terrorists, have been arrested, and four militant headquarters were destroyed, the army said in a statement, according to Ahram Online.
The attacks came in retaliation for an Islamic State group-inspired assault on July 1 that resulted in the deaths of 21 Egyptian soldiers and at least dozens of others. They also mark a milestone in the government’s crackdown on militant groups operating out of the country’s north. Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who has been criticized for his hard-handed tactics against domestic opposition, has vowed to stamp out terror from the country.
On Saturday, Sisi visited the North Sinai in a show of support for troops, announcing the region was now “totally stable.” Pictures posted to the army’s Facebook page show Sisi, dressed in military gear, greeting and standing alongside soldiers. The Facebook page also shows carnage of the army’s retaliation, including graphic pictures of the mangled and bloody bodies of militants posted to flaunt the army's success. Over the weekend, a video was posted to the Facebook page showing the bombing of an alleged militant hideout.
Last Wednesday’s attacks were claimed by Beit Al-Maqdis, a group which has reportedly operated under the name “The State of Sinai” since pledging allegiance to ISIS in November 2014. The insurgency in the Sinai, which has raged for more than a decade, has escalated over the last two years amid heightened allegations of an unjust crackdown on Islamist opponents by the country’s government. Wednesday's attacks were in response to that repression, the militants said, according to Al Arabiya.