Two children killed in clashes in Egypt’s Sinai

Cairo, Jan 30 (IANS) Two children were killed in clashes between the Egyptian army and Islamist militants in northern Sinai peninsula Friday, security sources told Xinhua news agency.

According to the sources, a five-year-old child was hit by a mortar shell and an eight-month-old baby was killed by bullets during the exchange of fire in two villages in northern Sinai. The violence also injured some people.
The two children died just one day after deadly attacks targeting security forces in Sinai claimed at least 26 lives.
On Thursday, militants attacked security premises belonging to the Egyptian Armed Forces in Arish city, the capital and the largest city of the governorate of North Sinai, in which car bombs and mortars were used, according to the military.
Separate attacks in the border city of Rafah and the canal city of Suez also killed and injured some security personnel Thursday.
Reports said that a series of posts from a social media account named Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Last year, Egypt’s most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, changed its name to Sinai Province after swearing allegiance to the Islamic State.
The Egyptian army responded to Thursday’s attacks in the early hours of Friday by starting a new round of military operations against terrorist hideouts throughout North Sinai, using helicopter gunships and unmanned planes, according to Al Ahram Arabic news website.
The deadly attacks on security forces prompted Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to decide Friday to cut short his participation in the African Union summit being held in Ethiopia.
Egypt has recently extended a curfew in many parts of North Sinai for three more months due to the unstable security conditions in the restive peninsula and the recurrent terrorist attacks on security men and premises.
The attacks have increased in Sinai and other parts of the country since the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, in July 2013. The subsequent crackdown on Morsi’s supporters has left nearly 1,000 people dead while thousands more were arrested.