By Nasser Al-Azazi
Masked gunmen attacked a Central Security Forces camp in the North Sinai town of Rafah on Monday. The attack resulted in no deaths or injuries and no arrests have yet been made.
The attack is the second in 24 hours and fifth since the 25 January 2011 uprising. Eyewitnesses said the gunmen drove a four-wheel drive vehicle and that they shot at the camp from the same area they used to attack it on Sunday.
The gunmen fired a medium-calibre machine gun into the camp, located in the Ahrash area on the Red Sea coast, a police source said on condition of anonymity.
He added that three armoured personnel carriers left the camp in pursuit of the assailants but the gunmen escaped. The security forces then patrolled the area in a bid to catch the attackers.
The Central Security Forces camp in Rafah was previously attacked with machine guns, rocket launchers and other weapons after the 25 January 2011 uprising.
Security forces stationed in Rafah have raised their alert level in anticipation of attacks by unknown assailants who are opposed to the police and military presence in the border town.
The latest attack coincides with the visit of a high-level American delegation to North Sinai to inspect security, according to sources who wish to remain anonymous.
The delegation, made up of 10 people, is headed by Derek Colt, the assistant to the United States secretary of defense for international security affairs and was accompanied by the communication spokesman of the Ministry of Defence General Osama Abdelaziz. The delegation met with leaders of the Multinational Force and Observer (MFO) peacekeeping forces and inspected the peacekeepers and several border areas.
This is the delegation’s second visit to North Sinai. The presidency has however denied any relation between the visit and the latest attack. The delegation was.
The delegation was protected by heavy security. It arrived in North Sinai on a US embassy aircraft which landed in a military airport near Sheikh Zowied run by the MFO forces in Sinai.
Rafah residents meanwhile are demanding faster work on the construction of a new police station. Work on the station has been suspended for months due to the contractor handling it receiving death threats.
Military units are now securing the construction site perimeter, guarding the workers and an armoured personnel carrier manned by an officer and 10 soldiers are protecting the incomplete station.