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Egyptian military kills 25 in Sinai airstrikes

Air raids came one week after scores of people were killed and injured in militant attacks on security facilities, personnel in North Sinai
The US delivered 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt last year (AFP)

At least 25 people have been killed and 15 others injured in airstrikes by Egyptian military helicopters in the country's restive, northeastern Sinai Peninsula, a security source said.

"The preliminary tally of the airstrikes carried out by Apache helicopters in northern Sinai indicates that 25 militants were killed and 15 others wounded," the source, requesting anonymity, told the Anadolu Agency.

The airstrikes, conducted in the early hours of Friday, concentrated on the villages of Abu Lfeita and Al-Touma as well as farmlands on the outskirts of provincial capital Arish, he said, noting that one of the airstrikes targeted a vehicle that had been carrying "heavy weaponry and an anti-aircraft missile launcher."

Egyptian authorities have not commented publicly on the reported airstrikes.

The air raids came around one week after scores of people were killed and injured in a spate of militant attacks on security facilities and personnel in North Sinai. The attacks were claimed by the "Welayat Sinai" militant group, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

Active in northern Sinai, the group acquired its current name after reportedly swearing allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (IS) militant movement.

Egyptian security forces have been waging a campaign against militants in Sinai – which shares borders with both Israel and the Gaza Strip – amid a rise in attacks on army and police personnel since the ousting of elected President Mohamed Morsi in mid-2013.

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