Part of a series of murders of police officers in their North Sinai homes, a senior non-commissioned officer was killed on Tuesday evening in his house near Al-Arish.
This comes after three other senior non-commissioned police officers were killed over the last 10 days.
A resident from North Sinai’s Al-Arish told Daily News Egypt, on condition of anonymity, that the senior non-commissioned officer Mohamed Ali was targeted by anonymous militants after he returned home from the second Al-Arish police station.
Four militants stormed his house and opened fire against him. The operation took place during sohour, referring to the time at dawn marking the beginning of a Muslim’s fast during Ramadan, residents clarified.
“Four militants believed to be members of Sinai Province, a movement affiliated with Islamic State (IS), stormed Ali’s home and killed him. They used a truck to execute the operation. This is not the first assassination operation executed against senior non-commissioned police officers recently,” an Al-Arish-based journalist said on condition of anonymity.
The Sinai Province considers all police and army forces as ‘infidels’ who should be killed. Such operations are not executed without proper planning. Targets are closely monitored before operations are carried out, he clarified.
In a different narrative to residents, the Ministry of Interior media office issued a statement regarding the purge operation on Wednesday morning, ensuring that the murdered police officer had been killed near the second Al-Arish police station.
“Mohamed Ali Maher is a non-commissioned officer who died as a martyr on Tuesday evening after anonymous militants opened fire against him near the second Al-Arish police station. Police forces are intensifying their efforts to arrest the perpetrators,” the statement read. This narrative contradicts with the residents’ stories.
Throughout the last ten days, three non-commissioned officers were killed in similar purge operations in and around Al-Arish. Residents believe that these assassination operations were also carried out by Sinai Province.
On Monday, a non-commissioned officer was killed south of Al-Arish, after militants stormed his home and opened fire against him. Three militants executed the operation using a truck and confiscated his service weapons amongst other personal belongings. The Ministry of Interior did not publish any statement regarding the incident.
Militants execute these purge operations as a new war strategy, residents said.
Similarly, two police officers were killed inside their homes in the Masaeed district in Al-Arish, near a police station. Four anonymous gunmen attacked them and opened fire in their homes, according to the Ministry of Interior’s official statement following the attack.
The state of emergency has been declared over North Sinai ever since interim president Adly Mansour, who came into office following Mohammed Morsi. The state of emergency was last extended in January 2016.
Clashes between state security forces and IS-affiliated Sinai Province militants have recently intensified, as security forces continue Operation Martyr’s Right.
Militants are mainly based in North Sinai in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish, where residents have long complained about severe neglect from the government in providing vital services, infrastructure, education, and healthcare.