After a bomb brought down Russian Metrojet flight 9268 over the Sinai Peninsula last fall, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised payback for the assault. “We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them,” Putin said. Russia significantly stepped up its airstrike campaign in Syria, deploying long-range bombers from Russian soil to strike targets there.
Not long thereafter, Egyptian authorities arrested two airport employees accused of helping ISIS to smuggle the bomb onto the aircraft.
And today, we are learning that the so-called mastermind behind the attack — and leader of the Islamic State’s Sinai Peninsula operations — has been killed, along with 45 other ISIS fighters. But it wasn’t Putin’s forces who did it; it was the Egyptian military.
More from Fox News: The leader of the Islamic State’s operations in the volatile Sinai Peninsula and mastermind of the October 2015 attack on a Russian airliner in the region that left 224 dead has been killed by Egypt’s Air force, intelligence sources tell Fox News.
Breaking News: Egyptian military kills ISIS mastermind behind downing of Russian jet, intelligence sources confirm. https://t.co/VCETGeJckb
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 4, 2016
ISIS Sinai leader Abu Dua al-Ansari was killed in Al Arish, the sources said.
A posting on the Facebook page of the military’s chief spokesman, Brig-Gen Mohammed Samir, said Doaa al-Ansari was killed in an operation guided by “accurate intelligence.”
He helped organize ISIS activities in the region including attacks against U.N. personnel in their Sinai base.
In the Metrojet plane attack on October 31, an air mechanic whose cousin joined ISIS in Syria is suspected to have planted a bomb on the Russian passenger plane at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport. The plane then exploded in Egypt’s skies after takeoff, killing all 224 aboard.
Egypt’s military wrote on its Facebook page that its airstrikes also killed 45 ISIS fighters and ammunition depots used by the group, Reuters reported.
The Daily Mail reports that this particular ISIS cell, known as Wilayat Sayna, has been branded the ‘most dangerous terror group in Egypt’ following a five-year campaign of bloody attacks.
Although it swore allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in November 2014, the group has killed scores of Egyptian army personnel, politicians and civilians since 2011 in a campaign of terror that has included suicide bombers, car bombs and roadside IEDs.
Egyptian forces have been actively battling Islamic militants for years, though the situation has grown deadlier following the ousting of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Anyone want to guess whether the Egyptian air force dropped flyers warning ISIS of the impending strikes, as Obama has our guys doing? No doubt they first tried hugs with the terrorists before resorting to airstrikes.
Encouraging to see someone fighting this enemy with the force required.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]