Militants from the Islamic State (IS)-affiliated group Sinai Province bombed a local municipality headquarter early on Sunday in North Sinai’s Al-Arish.
On Sunday morning, residents of El-Sabil village, south to Al-Arish city, heard a loud blast that took down the village’s municipality headquarters.
Residents from the village told Daily News Egypt that the explosion, caused by planted improvised explosive devices (IED), resulted in the full destruction of the headquarters.
“The attack on El-Sabil’s local municipality headquarters came after the army had used it as a base to target militants during its latest operation,” one of the residents clarified on Sunday.
Security forces imposed a siege around the area and arrested a number of residents, suspecting their involvement in the explosion, according to the testimonies of several eyewitnesses.
Meanwhile, local media reports were contradictory, as it tackled the clashes in Sinai on Saturday, with circulated reports of a successful military campaign. The campaign supposedly led to the killing of a leading figure of the Sinai Province, the militant group formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.
Mohamed Moussa Mohessin, 40, was allegedly killed in February in central Sinai, after a massive military operation executed by the third field army, according to media statements issued by supreme security officials.
In a clear contradiction to these reports, the same leading figure was reportedly killed in the army counter-insurgency campaign on Saturday. The campaign included air strikes that carried out several raids and targeted Mohessin.
Regarding the same incident, the Armed Forces’s media office confirmed the military campaign that targeted militants from Sinai Province, without giving exact names of the targets or the number of those killed . The media office told Daily News Egypt on Sunday that it will not publish the names of the killed militants.
Sinai has become the scene of frequent clashes between militants and state security forces.
As a result, an extensive counter-insurgency operation was launched to curb militancy. The Egyptian government has imposed a state of emergency in the peninsula’s northern regions.