Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula warned the Egyptian military on Wednesday against cracking down on jihadis and claimed they were not behind a sneak attack earlier this month that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.
In a statement posted on a website which usually carries Al-Qaeda and similar groups' statements, the militants said their main focus is Israel and that they do not target Egyptian soldiers. There was no way to independently verify the statement.
"Prevent bloodshed, blood which has been spilled and which will be spilled if this aggression continues. You are dragging us to a battle that is not ours," the statement read.
"Our weapon is not directed at you," it continued, adding: "We don't want to turn our rage against you ... have mercy on the soldiers you are using as fuel in the battle."
Islamic militants are believed to be behind the 5 August assault that killed the 16 soldiers in what was the worst attack on troops from inside Egypt in living memory. Gunmen stormed a security checkpoint near the border between Gaza and Israel and killed the soldiers while they were breaking their fast for the holy month of Ramadan.
The attackers then commandeered an armored vehicle and stormed across the border into Israel, where an Israeli airstrike knocked out the vehicle and killed at least six militants.
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