In a statement released to jihadist forums on Dec. 1, the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) announced the deaths of three of its fighters. Although Ansar Jerusalem did not provide an exact location or date of death, press reports indicated that three militants were killed in clashes with Egyptian security forces on Nov. 30 near Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai.
Since this announcement, Egypt’s army spokesman Ahmed Ali has said that security forces have killed five jihadists in operations in North Sinai.
On Dec. 9, a statement on Ali’s Facebook page said security forces killed Ibrahim Abou Eita, a purported leader of Ansar Jerusalem. The following day, Ali said authorities managed to kill Essam al Sarea, another wanted jihadist. Four days later, Ali claimed forces operating in North Sinai had killed another key jihadist, Ahmed Ahmeid Sereeg.
On Dec. 15, Egypt’s army spokesman said security forces had killed Nesar Sabah Robaa Saleh, another jihadist purportedly involved in recent attacks against security personnel. And today, the army spokesman claimed authorities killed Silmi Mohammed Masbah, a purported member of Ansar Jerusalem who was said to be involved in the Aug. 5, 2012 attack on a Rafah military outpost that resulted in the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers.
Thus far, no group has confirmed or denied Egyptian army claims that five jihadists have been killed over the past week.
Meanwhile, in Ismailia, a policeman was shot and killed today during clashes with Islamist militants. Egyptian authorities have intensified their campaign to find Ansar Jerusalem and al Furqan Brigades members around Ismailia, al Masry al Youm reported yesterday.
Security sources recently claimed that the Dec. 12 bombing outside a security forces camp in Ismailia was carried out by Ansar Jerusalem. The attack, which killed at least one person and wounded more than a dozen, has thus far gone unclaimed.
Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi on July 3, there have been at least 259 reported attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, most of which were carried out against Egyptian security forces and assets, according to data maintained by The Long War Journal.
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