Army forces in the city of Sheikh Zuwaid stopped an attack on two army-affiliated checkpoints Wednesday morning, according to a North Sinai based journalist.
The journalist told Daily News Egypt, on condition of anonymity, that nearly 20 militants from the Islamic State (IS) affiliated group ‘Sinai Province’ launched the attack using motorbikes. Two army checkpoints situated near the Al-Toma village of Sheikh Zuwaid were targeted, but conscripts and officers quickly defended their positions, killing the militants in the process.
Daily News Egypt made several attempts to reach the army media office for a comment, but received no reply.
Clashes between state security forces and ‘Sinai Province’ militants have intensified recently as security forces continue Operation Martyr’s Right. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are being detonated close to checkpoints and armoured vehicles nearly every day.
The militants are mainly based in Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish where residents have long complained about the lack of infrastructure and services provided by the government, such as health care and proper education.
The targeting of civilians by militants has increased recently due to the absence of permanent state security forces in all cities and villages in the North Sinai governorate where military clashes continue with ‘Sinai Province’.
On Saturday, residents from Rafah and Al-Arish informed Daily News Egypt that three civilians were killed by militants believed to belong to ‘Sinai Province’.
Two were killed south of Rafah, while the third was killed in Al-Arish. According to North Sinai residents, the militants are motivated to attack civilians because of some citizens’ cooperation with state security forces against militants.