The Egyptian army has stepped up its campaign against Islamic State loyalists in the Sinai Peninsula against the backdrop of a warming of relations between Cairo and Tehran.
Over the last few days, 50 IS fighters were reportedly killed and 30 were wounded, and vehicles were destroyed. According to reports in the pro-Iranian media, the Egyptian army shelled a gathering of militants in the village of Almuqataa, near Sheik Zuweid, leading to numerous casualties.
Egyptian officials told state media outlets that the attack pre-empted a coordinated IS attack on military installations using APVs, motorcycles and RPG weapons.
The officials added that some 30 militants have been arrested in villages near Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
Pro-Iranian, pro-Hezbollah and pro-Syrian media outlets have shown growing interest in the Egyptian army’s Sinai campaign, a possible testament to a future rapprochement between the Iran-allies and Cairo, as Egypt’s relations with Saudi Arabia and other rivals of Iran in the Persian Gulf have continued to deteriorate.