A total of 205 ‘takfiri elements’ have been killed by the Egyptian army in the past three days, following a massive attack on the military in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid Wednesday.
According to state news agency MENA, the army bombed several areas in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid based on aerial surveying. The army broadcast an excerpt from the bombing on the official Facebook account of the military spokesperson.
This comes as the officially announced death toll on the army’s side was maintained at 17, in addition to 13 injured soldiers. On the other hand, media reported higher tolls, reaching as high as 60-70 killed. Media, as well as Sinai-based journalists, also reported that several civilians were killed in the battle between the army and militant groups.
In a speech to the armed forces officers and soldiers in Sinai on Saturday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi criticised those reports saying that some media, both local and international, contributed to conveying a “non-truthful image” of North Sinai attacks.
“If the military was not keen on the lives of innocent civilians and their protection during operations targeted at militants, it would have been much more successful doing its job in a shorter period,” Al-Sisi added.
Moreover, the president condemned claims that “State of Sinai”, the extremist group behind the attack, had seized the area. Al-Sisi also condemned what he called a failed “attempt to seize the valuable Sinai land and announce a state of Sinai, despite that Sheikh Zuweid represents only one percent of a total space of 60 sqm”.
Al-Sisi was absent from the public scene for three days since the attack, before appearing on Saturday in military uniform in a tour in North Sinai.