Egypt’s military forces have killed the founder and top leader of Daesh-linked Velayat Sinai Takfiri terrorist group in an airstrike.
“Following the results of the air raid on March 18 ... and upon the security apparatus’s investigation, it was revealed that Salem Salmy al-Hamadeen, aka Abu Anas al-Ansari, was killed,” said Egyptian army spokesman Tamer al-Refai in an official statement on Sunday, adding that the terrorist leader had died of injuries he had sustained in the airstrike.
The Egyptian military official said the attack also killed 17 “extremely dangerous” terrorists and wounded several others.
The group, previously known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, was founded in 2011 and in mid 2013 it began a campaign of deadly attacks against Egyptian security forces. The group has killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, so far. In November 2014, it also pledged allegiance to Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, and renamed itself as Daesh-Velayat Sinai Province.
According to Refai, the Takfiri leader was one of the group’s founders and was among its most prominent leaders in North Sinai, playing an active role in arming and training militants in the region.
The military statement came two days after the terrorist group announced the killing of Hamadeen in its propaganda weekly newsletter al-Nabaa, mourning the death of the 40-year-old leader in an obituary, and describing him as a “key figure” in the terror campaign.
The Egyptian military launched a large-scale security operation against Daesh positions in Sinai in September 2015, following coordinated terrorist attacks on several army checkpoints that claimed the lives of 21 soldiers in July that year.
The Sinai Peninsula has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, following a deadly terrorist attack that left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead. Over the past few years, militants have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil caused in Egypt after the democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted by the military in July 2013.
Velayat Sinai terrorists have claimed responsibility for most of the assaults, mainly targeting the army and police.