SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-Egypt’s army killed a field commander in Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant group, during clashes on Thursday in the lawless north of the Sinai Peninsula, security sources said.
Mohamed Abu Shatiya, among militants behind the kidnapping of seven Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last year, died during fighting with the army south of Rafah, on the border with Gaza.
Two tonnes of explosives were confiscated from a nearby tunnel connecting Sinai to Gaza during the incident, security sources claimed.
Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has allegedly killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police over the last year and beheaded several people in recent weeks, saying they were spies for Israeli intelligence.
Egyptian security officials have said Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has contacts with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a group that the Syrian and Iraqi armies are battling.
They have also highlighted what they say are links between militants in both Libya and Egypt and ISIS, saying Libyan-based Egyptian militants dream of creating an ISIS-style empire in their homeland.
ISIS recently urged Egyptian militants to press ahead with attacks on security forces and beheadings. The call is likely to deepen concern over ties between militant groups in the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Despite several army operations, Egypt’s military has struggled to tackle Ansar and other militant groups.