Enormous death tolls are coming out of the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt today as ISIS forces launch a wave of attacks, backed by rocket fire and car bombings, against Sinai security forces loyal to the Egyptian junta. They centered around the town of Sheikh Zuwayid.
The exact toll is still being sussed out, but at least 64 Egyptian troops were killed, and 25 wounded. Six civilians were also reported slain and over 100 ISIS militants were also killed, as Egypt launched a massive counterattack.
The ISIS affiliate, which calls itself State of Sinai and was previously known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, reported it had carried out attacks on 15 separate security targets around the area, and launched three car bombing attacks in the course of the strike, two of which wiped out military checkpoints.
Though it is unclear if the timing is related, the junta speculated that the attacks were related to the second anniversary of a series of protests launched (and heavily backed by the military) against the elected Morsi government. The protests were used as a pretext for the 2013 coup d’etat, which the junta followed up with an immediate military offensive against Sinai. The offensive has been ongoing ever since.