Several media reports indicated on Monday that the Egyptian Armed Forces and police divisions launched a massive security campaign through which they succeeded in killing a huge number of Sinai Province militants in North Sinai.
Despite the absence of any official declaration from either the police or the army, privately-owned newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabaa reported that 60 militants were killed on Monday.
Neither the Armed Forces’ media office nor its spokesperson were available for comment when Daily News Egypt attempted to verify the authenticity of the aforementioned information.
The report published in Al-Youm Al-Sabaa asserted that the campaign achieved unprecedented success in targeting the headquarters and leading figures in the militant factions.
In discord with local media reports on the death toll, international channel Sky News reported on Monday that the Egyptian Armed Forces succeeded in killing 40 militants through intensive airstrikes executed by the Air Force south of Rafah, North Sinai, according to security officials.
“As no information has yet been made available, whether from militant groups or the army, regarding the media reports about the mass killing of Sinai Province militants, we must remain sceptical,” a North Sinai-based journalist told Daily News Egypt Monday on condition of anonymity.
The lack of a rapid response from the state regarding media reports published about conditions in North Sinai, in addition to the media blackout imposed on journalists and other media outlets that provide media coverage on the ground in North Sinai, are the main reasons for the recent phenomenon of “media chaos”, he added.
Earlier in March, an official spokesperson for the army declared that 60 alleged militants were killed and 40 others injured in clashes with the armed forces in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
The campaign was executed through a number of strikes including air raids on different positions south of Rafah, believed to belong to Islamic State-affiliated militants. The raids destroyed several trucks, motorcycles, and weapons.
The army raids came after the deadly attack against El-Safa checkpoint in Al-Arish city, also in March, resulting in the death of 15 police officers.
Sinai has become the scene of frequent clashes following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. The unrest has been escalated by militants affiliated with Islamic State and the clashes between them and the Armed Forces have caused numbers of casualties, including civilians.