By Nasser al-Azazi
A security forces officer and two soldiers were killed Saturday night, after militants placed an improvised explosive device (IED) near military vehicles in Sheikh Zuweid, close to where security forces had been conducting military operations earlier in the day.
A security source in North Sinai stated that an IED exploded near an armoured vehicle while it was travelling to the Al-Joura neighbourhood of southern Sheikh Zuweid, leading to the deaths. Their corpses were brought to the military hospital in Al-Arish.
Police and army forces recently conducted the largest and most violent military operation seen yet against militant locations in southern Sheikh Zuweid and western Rafah. Aided by Apache helicopters, ground forces conducted raids in the neighbourhoods of Al-Muqata, Al-Zahir, Al-Aujra, Al-Tuma, Al-Jura, Al-Qaria and Al-Mahadia in both Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
Eyewitnesses stated that security forces succeeded in apprehending a vehicle transporting missiles which had been attempting to flee security forces conducting raids Saturday night and Sunday morning. The military spokesman said that nine members of Takfiri (extremist Salafi groups that accuse people of apostasy and take violent actions against them) organisations had been killed during the operation, while nine others were arrested. He added that three weapon and bullet storage depositories, in addition to 107 small huts and a number of vehicles owned by Takfiri organisations had also been destroyed. Large amounts of weapons and ammunition were also seized in the process.
Security forces were also able to apprehend an individual in possession of a hand grenade who had recently escaped from the Wadi Al-Natrun prison. He was afterwards transferred to the appropriate authorities for investigation.
A security force added that another had been arrested in Al-Arish while in possession of a hand grenade. He had escaped from prison in the days following the outbreak of the 25 January revolution, and has had several pending court charges against him.
Security forces also arrested two individuals reportedly members of Hamas, who had been hiding out in houses located in one of the villages surrounding Sheikh Zuweid. Upon being arrested the two were found to be in possession of bombs and automatic weapons.