Egypt delivers devastating blow to Al Qaida stronghold in Sinai
CAIRO — Islamist rebels have been struck hard by the Egyptian military in the turbulent Sinai Peninsula.
The Egyptian military said 16 Islamist rebels were killed in a strike by the Air Force.
The military said the Air Force targeted a suspected insurgency stronghold in the northeastern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwaid on Feb. 7.
"The operation targeted terrorists in Sheikh Zuwaid," the military said. The air strike marked one of the bloodiest operations by the Egyptian military in Sinai.
The Air Force and Army have targeted Sheikh Zuwaid, located near the border of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, since the military campaign in Sinai, launched in August 2013.
Officials said Sheikh Zuwaid was believed to have been used by Al Qaida's Ansar Beit Al Maqdis. They said Ansar has stored missiles and rocket-propelled grenades in homes in the town.
The Egyptian Army has also continued to demolish smuggling tunnels that link Sinai to Gaza. On Feb. 8, the Army was said to have destroyed seven tunnels while confiscating equipment sent from the Gaza Strip.