Egypt's spokesperson of the Armed Forces Mohamed Samir (Photo: Courtesy of Egypt's army spokesman's official Facebook page)
Egypt’s army spokesperson Bridger General Mohamed Samir says that the "terrorists" behind Wednesday's deadly attacks in North Sinai were naive to think that they could occupy any part of Egypt.
"What is happening shows the terrorist group's naive and decayed thinking as they thought that they could occupy a part of Egypt, no matter how armed they were," Samir told the Ahram Arabic news website on Thursday.
He further blamed the local press for repeating "wrong" death tolls published in the foreign media in covering Wednesday's deadly confrontations between Islamic State-affiliated militants and the Egyptian army in North Sinai.
"Yesterday, the Egyptian military was facing both a war on the ground and a media war," Samir told the Ahram Arabic news website on Thursday.
"The foreign press and news agencies intentionally published these numbers to spread frustration among Egyptians, and some local media outlets reported their figures," he added.
While the Egyptian military announced last night that the confrontations left four officers and 13 soldiers killed, some foreign news outlets put the death toll at 60 to 70 killed.
"There was no delay in announcing the casualty numbers, and if there was it only lasted for a few minutes,” Samir explained. “The head of the operation in the field usually does the count and issues a 'fight report' by the end of the day -- not while the operation is ongoing."
Samir told Sky News Arabia on Tuesday that 300 “terrorists” had attacked security sites yesterday. The military pursued and killed 100 of them, he said, while the rest escaped.
Military sources told Reuters' Aswat Masriya that at least 22 militants were killed in an airstrike the Egyptian air forces launched early on Thursday on Rafah, North Sinai.
The Islamic State-affiliated Sinai Province, previously known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for assaults on over 15 security sites and another three suicide attacks in North Sinai on Wednesday.
Sinai Province has also claimed responsibility for a number of large-scale attacks across Egypt.
In October last year, at least 31 security officers and soldiers were killed in two separate attacks on military checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid and Al-Arish, North Sinai.
The group claimed in January that it had raided six different military and police sites in North Sinai in attacks that left at least 44 killed.