The Egyptian military now claims to have killed more than 250 terrorists from Islamic State and to have captured 60 of its people during ongoing clashes in the Sinai peninsula which began on the first of July.
Egypt, meanwhile, claims to have lost only 17 soldiers. No outside group has confirmed these numbers.
There has been fierce fighting in the Sheikh Zuweid area on the border between the Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
An Egyptian military spokesman said on Wednesday, “17 terrorists were killed at the Sidrat Abu Hajjaj checkpoint (in Sheikh Zuweid) and 23 other terrorists were killed at the Abu Rifai checkpoint (also in Sheikh Zuweid). They were all killed in firefights with the fighters in the checkpoints, the heroes of the armed forces.”
Israeli officials have accused Hamas, which rules Gaza, of supporting the IS attacks in the Sinai. This contradicts recent reports that Hamas has been fighting against Islamic State supporters in Gaza.
An unnamed Israeli Army colonel told Israel radio, “Why was it is so very important for them (Hamas) to develop the connection with Sinai Province? Because they need the raw materials that would enable the military build-up in Gaza.”
“To carry out high-quality smuggling required a special operation, ” he added.
meanwhile, a mortar was launched in the Sinai today which killed 5 civilians. It is not yet known who launched it.