Two children were killed Monday in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid during shelling in the area by unidentified forces, said North Sinai’s Health Ministry Undersecretary Tarek Khater.
It is not clear whether the shelling was attributed to the armed forces or North Sinai’s militants.
Civilian deaths occur frequently in the area according to several North Sinai residents.
North Sinai’s insurgency has seen a rise during the past year and a half since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The Egyptian armed forces are engaged in a “war against terrorism”, targeting militant hideouts, with the Sinai-based militant group “State of Sinai” claiming that the army hits civilian targets. Such claims have been repeatedly refuted by the army, who consistently state their operations hit militant targets.
However, in several statements, “State of Sinai” posted photos of dead people claiming them to be civilians killed by the armed forces’ “indiscriminate shelling”.
”State of Sinai” on the other hand claims almost all attacks in North Sinai against security personnel and facilities, and also target civilians who are allegedly “armed forces informers”. Several attacks on security targets left civilian casualties as well as damaged several houses
The most significant of them was launched on 29 January on a number of security facilities, where houses in the vicinity were damaged and several residents relocated following the attack.
The armed forces are evacuating all residents from a 5km area along the Rafah border, to avoid civilian deaths. They will be able to demolish all houses with the aim of destroying smuggling tunnels used for the infiltration of “terrorists and weapons”.
“State of Sinai” has been trying to win residents to their side. The most common attempt used by the group is through leaflet distribution among North Sinai residents, which contain direct death threats to resident civilians who have helped the army in any way. The group posted several pictures of alleged members while interacting with residents and handing them the leaflets.