The armed forces and ‘State of Sinai’ militants have engaged in a propaganda struggle, as both released several photos on Monday showcasing operations in North Sinai.
The army photos, published alongside a statement on the military spokesperson’s Facebook page, included graphic images allegedly showing dead militants and the destruction of houses, shacks, and other “terrorist hideouts”.
Some photos show underground tunnels and rooms allegedly used by the militants, as well as displays of the weapons found at these sites, including mortar shells and other types of ammunition.
Meanwhile, ‘State of Sinai’ militants posted photos of alleged operations targeting the armed forces as well as the bombing of a gas pipeline.
The Arab Gas Pipeline, linking Port Said, Al-Arish and the Jordanian port of Aqaba has been a frequent target of Sinai-based militant groups since Egypt’s 25 January Revolution.
The pipeline was bombed at least 27 times in 2014 alone, with several of the attacks claimed by the “State of Sinai”, which was formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. The group changed its name in November 2014 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
Following that pledge, the group stated in a November propaganda video that “not a drop of gas will reach Jordan until the Commander of the Believers [ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi] permits it”.
Jordan, alongside the US and several Gulf countries, is part of the international coalition carrying out air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.
The photo of the pipeline bombing posted on the ‘State of Sinai’ Twitter account Monday did not indicate when the action would have taken place. An armed forces spokesperson, however, said no pipeline bombing happened over the past week.
‘State of Sinai’ also claimed that it attacked a military vehicle on Sunday, adding that “an M60 army tank was destroyed” and that all personnel aboard died.
A road side bomb was reported to have exploded Sunday in Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai. According to the military spokesperson, the tank withstood the impact of the explosion, though an army officer and three conscripts riding inside the vehicle were injured as a result of the shock wave. No deaths were reported.
When asked to comment on the new ‘State of Sinai’ claim, a representative from the military spokesman’s office declined to specify what type of military vehicle was targeted in Sunday’s attack. He added, however, that the militants’ claims of the death and destruction are “not true”, and that nobody died as a result of Sunday’s explosion.
“The army will not hide the bodies of deceased conscripts and their families would have definitely reacted if something like that happened,” he said.