CAIRO, August 9, 2013 (AA)
An army spokesman has denied reports about an Israeli attack into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
“Reports about Israeli attacks into Egyptian lands are groundless and totally bare of truth,” spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said via Facebook on Friday.
At least five people were killed on Friday in an attack on a missile launch pad belonging to Jihadists in the North Sinai city of Rafah.
According to an Egyptian security source, a military helicopter struck the missile launch pad in Al-Arjaa district in southern Rafah after spotting gunmen moving toward it.
“The site was immediately bombed and five gunmen killed,” the source told Anadolu Agency.
But sources close to Jihadist groups in Sinai said that an Israeli plane was behind the attack.
The sources added that the attack struck shortly as Jihadists were planning to fire missiles at Israeli targets.
“The bombing left elements of Jihadist groups dead as they prepared to fire missiles into Israel,” the sources said.
The missiles and the dead bodies were moved to an undisclosed location, added the sources.
As of the filing of this report, there was no official comment from Israel.
A military spokesman said via Facebook earlier today that two explosions had been heard in Al-Arjaa, stressing that “steps were now being taken aimed at determining the cause of the blasts.”
Local residents had earlier reported hearing powerful explosions in the area.
Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula enjoyed an atypically peaceful day on Thursday, which coincided with the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the three-day feast that follows the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
The peninsula, situated near Egypt’s borders with Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, has seen almost daily attacks by unknown assailants since the army’s July 3 ouster of elected President Mohamed Morsi.