The Egyptian armed forces managed to thwart a suicide attack on Thursday that took place near a cars’ parking space located in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in the North Sinai governorate. The attack was targeting a security checkpoint, according to a statement released from the army’s official spokesperson.
The statement noted that due to the ‘high’ alert of the security members stationed at the checkpoint, the suicide attacker faced heavy fire from them before his arrival to the security checkpoint. The shooting led to the explosion of the detonation belt the suicide attacker was wearing and the death of the suicide attacker.
The statement did not divulge the identity of the killed suicide attacker; however, he is believed to be a member of the Islamic State (IS) affiliated group of ‘Sinai Province’. The foiled attack also resulted in the death of an army member, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, four citizens were decapitated by IS militants on Wednesday in Al-Arish-Al Qantara highway road in North Sinai, according to tribal sources.
The “Sinai Tribal Federation” page on Facebook that represents Sinai tribes said in a statement that the four decapitated citizens have been previously kidnapped by members of the IS affiliated group of “Sinai Province”.
It added that the four decapitated citizens are Yousef Hasaan, who was kidnapped during the holy month of Ramadan from his village al-Mazar in North Sinai. The second is Salem Garir who was kidnapped weeks ago from El Malhat area, located northern of Rawda village in North Sinai.
The other two are from Port Said governorate and were kidnapped from the “Ga’al” district located the south east of Bir El Abd city weeks ago. Both are owners of trucks that transfer cement produced in army factories, and the two are father and son, Salama Ibrahim and his son Mahmoud.
The IS members set up a checkpoint on the Al-Arish-Al Qantara highway road in North Sinai and slaughtered the aforementioned four citizens, beside kidnapping another seven civilians who were using the road from them: Taha Ismail from Alexandria governorate who works as a production manager in El Nasr company in ‘Sebika’ area in North Sinai, while the identity of the other kidnapped six citizens still remains unknown, according to local media reports.
The “Sinai Tribal Federation” accused the ‘Sinai Province’ of being responsible for the ‘massacre’ through a statement published on their Facebook page.
“According to a high-ranking security source, militants affiliated to IS set up a checkpoint near Msofaq village in Bir Al-Abd city through the international road of Al Qanatra – Al-Arish. They then slaughtered four citizens on the road, ambulances rushed to the site of the incident, and transferred the bodies to Bir al-Abd hospital,” their statement read.
The Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) said that police patrols have been deployed in the site where the slaughter took place and closed all the main roads in Sinai. Moreover, many Egyptian aircrafts were hovering in the sky to target the perpetrators on the slaughter.
The slaughter of the four citizens came directly after a week from the release of a kidnapped young man from ‘El Dawghra’ tribe, one of the tribes located west of north Sinai, and the release of other three people from El Rawda village. All of them are believed to be kidnapped by ‘Sinai Province’ group.
Army and police forces in Egypt are engaging in a wide-scale militant operation launched in the presence of IS in north Sinai since February 2018. The operation is aiming to get rid of the IS affiliated group of ‘Sinai Province’ that has been previously known as ‘Ansar Byat El Maqdus’ group and turned to be ‘Sinai Province’ in 2014 after declaring its affiliation to the IS.
The group is adopting an ideology that is based on considering all members of the army and police forces as ‘infidels’ who should be killed. Moreover, it considers any civilian who is cooperating or showing support for the army and police as an ‘infidel’ who should be killed.
Since the start of the ‘Sinai 2018 Comprehensive Operation’, the rate of the militant attacks conducted by IS against army, police, and civilians has decreased due to many counter attacks performed by the army against militants’ posts.