Egyptian officials: 4 Palestinians, 2 Egyptians behind deadly attack
Published Saturday 01/02/2014 (updated) 02/02/2014 12:36
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian intelligence officials said Saturday that two Egyptians and four Palestinians were behind an attack that downed a military helicopter in north Sinai last week.
Officials said eyewitnesses told them the attack was carried out by a group of six who launched the missile from a poultry farm.
The missile used in the attack was a 9K38 Igla, a Russian-made man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile, they said, without providing further details.
The attack killed five soldiers near the town of Sheikh Zuwayed on Jan. 25. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an al-Qaeda-inspired militant group, took responsibility for the attack.
An Egyptian military statement initially said the helicopter crash was an "accident."
But an army source told Ma'an on Monday: "the army will response toughly to this qualitative development Takfiri groups have made."
During a campaign to crack down on militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula following the attack, the army said Monday that its soldiers had killed one militant and injured several others.
During the campaign, which started Sunday, Egyptian border guards discovered and demolished six smuggling tunnels under the borders between Rafah city in southern Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Rafah on the other side of the border.
Egyptian armed forces launched large scale military action against militants in the Sinai Peninsula in September, in what officials described as the largest mobilization of force in the area since the 1973 war with Israel.
The action comes in the wake of rising instability and almost daily attacks in the region since the ouster of president Muhammad Morsi, as groups conduct a campaign against state institutions and the military.