By Nasser Al-Azazi
Clashes erupted again in Sinai after a brief period of calm, with security sources successfully preventing armed assailants from launching attacks on security checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid.
Unknown assailants driving SUVs launched an attack at dawn on a security checkpoint in the Al-Kothr neighborhood of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, prompting security forces to return fire. An Apache helicopter pursued the two vehicles transporting the assailants, attacking and destroying one, while the other managed to escape.
The army and central security forces were able to kill a number of armed assailants who launched an attack on a central security checkpoint in the Abu Tawila region of Sheikh Zuweid, located along the international road between Rafah and Al-Arish.
A security source said four assailants were killed, all of whom were leaders of local takfir movements. The assailants reportedly fired on the Abu Tawila checkpoint in the Al-Kothr neighborhood of Sheikh Zuweid from peach orchards located nearby. Security forces chased the assailants out of the area, with eye witnesses reporting sounds of heavy gunfire.
Security forces were also able during Saturday to arrest seven individuals thought to be implicated in recent events taking place throughout Sinai. A Palestinian citizen was arrested in Al-Arish, accused of launching attacks against the city’s Second Police Station and Civil Defense Fire Station. Two other Palestinians were arrested in the Karm Abu Nagila region, with investigations showing that the two had been contracted to target police stations. Two Egyptians were also arrested, with investigations currently taking place to assess their level of involvement in recent events.
A security source denied claims that they had successfully arrested all those responsible for the execution of 25 police conscripts in Rafah last Monday. These sources claimed however that efforts were still being exerted to find the perpetrators, saying that three out of the 11 perpetrators had been identified.
Forces within the North Sinai Security Directorate demolished the house of Adel Qadamash, previous Deputy Governor of North Sinai, yesterday at dawn, however were unsuccessful in arresting him as he was not present at his home at the time. Eyewitnesses stated that a convoy of 10 vehicles, consisting of nine armoured trucks and one microbus, took part in demolishing the house in the neighborhood of Ayub in Al-Arish. Qadamash is reportedly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A security source said members of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority destroyed three underground tunnels Saturday night located along the border with the Gaza Strip. The source stated that the tunnels were found in the Al-Sarsuria neighborhood of Rafah, two of which were located in vacant areas devoid of residents, with the third being found within the wall of a citizen’s home. Eyewitnesses stated that residents tried to prevent the armed forces from destroying the tunnel, forcing the later to fire shots into the air to disperse the crowd.
Since the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi, a number of underground tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip have been destroyed, particularly those thought to be used for smuggling fuel.
Authorities decided to temporarily open the Rafah border crossing on Saturday, allowing 1,019 individuals to cross the border. 337 individuals were reported entering Egypt from the Gaza Strip, with the remaining 682 individuals traveling from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.