70 militants killed after fatal shooting of Egyptian army officer

CAIRO,  Seventy militants were killed and another 70 injured Sunday in possible retaliation to the killing one day earlier of a senior Egyptian officer and his driver outside his home in a suburb of Cairo.

A member of the Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas stands guard at a landslide caused by floodwater pumped by Egyptian forces to destroy Palestinian tunnels to smuggle goods, near the border between Egypt and southern Gaza, November 26, 2015. Brig. Gen. Adel Ragaei, oversaw the destruction and flooding of the tunnels, was shot dead by suspected militants in a Cairo suburb Saturday. File photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Egypt’s air forces struck Islamic State outposts in northern Sinai peninsula just west of Rafah near the border with Gaza early Sunday morning, according to the Arabic-language version of Sky News. Air forces also attacked vehicles belonging to jihadist extremist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The officer in Saturday’s shooting was identified as Brig. Gen. Adel Ragai, commander of the army’s Ninth Armored Division, according to state media.

Sumaya Zein el-Abedeen, the general’s wife, told state media neighbors saw three gunmen with assault rifles in a vehicle outside the couple’s home.

“I heard the gunshots and saw him die before my eyes,” she said.

Liwa al-Thawra, a little-known group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ragai commanded an armored division deployed in the Sinai, including overseeing the destruction and flooding of tunnels that ran into the Gaza Strip under the Rafah border.

Egypt is battling several armed groups mainly in the Sinai Peninsula after the military coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi.

Eight days earlier, Islamic State militants stormed a military checkpoint in northern Sinai, killing at least 12 soldiers and 15 militants.

By Allen Cone