The Egyptian military said Thursday it killed a senior Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) cleric and 18 militants in airstrikes in the Sinai Peninsula where the terrorists are waging an insurgency.
The announcement came after Daesh claimed a series of attacks, including a shooting near a monastery this week and twin church bombings on April 9 that killed dozens.
Among the militants killed was “one of the prominent leaders of the so-called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the head of the religious affairs committee in the group,” the military said, without saying when the strikes occurred, AFP reported.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was the name used by the extremist group in the Sinai before they pledged allegiance to Daesh in November 2014.
Daesh terrorists have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since 2013.
The April 9 church bombings in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria followed a December suicide bombing in a Cairo church that killed 29 people, also claimed by Daesh.
On Wednesday, the interior ministry said security forces killed a gunman suspected of killing a policeman and wounding three others near St Catherine’s monastery in south Sinai the day before.
Daesh, which claimed the shooting, has threatened more attacks on Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of more than 90 million people.