Israel, Egypt in covert counterterrorism pact against ISIS: NYT

05 February 2018

Unmarked Israeli warplanes and helicopters have carried out dozens of covert attacks against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups inside the Egyptian Sinai, The New York Times reported citing two former senior US officials.

The airstrikes have the support of Egypt's president Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who has been trying to crush Islamic militant groups inside Egypt often in brutal crackdowns, but has struggled to defeat them.

In November, gunmen from the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State launched a brazen attack on the al-Rawdah mosque. Nearly 40 militants stormed the mosque in Egypt's sparsely populated Sinai, killing over 300 worshipers.

According to US officials, the collaboration helped the Egyptian military gain the upper hand in its nearly five-year battle with the militants.

The report said the need for secrecy is so great that  only a small number of military and intelligence officers know about it.

The report added that some of the aircraft fly circuitous routes to their targets so that they do not appear to come from Israel according to the report.

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