The militant group “Sinai Province” claimed it targeted an army infantry patrol on Monday evening using several improvised explosive devices (IED) in the Abu Refai region south of Sheikh Zuweid city, according to a statement.
The group also asserted that the operation resulted in the death and injury of several army officers and conscripts.
“Thanks to Allah, an army infantry patrol was targeted in an ambush using IEDs … consecutive explosions resulted in the death and injury of several army officers and conscripts. Another IED targeted an army vehicle that came to retrieve the deceased; a M60 tank was also targeted. Several conscripts ran away and their weapons [were looted],” the statement read.
Daily News Egypt was unable to attain any comment from army and police media offices to verify the authenticity of the deaths and injuries reported by “Sinai Province”.
Meanwhile, a police officer and two conscripts were injured by an IED that detonated in Rafah city, a North Sinai-based journalist told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity. They were immediately transferred to Al-Arish military hospital to receive treatment, he added.
On Monday, Sinai Province published photos of the execution of North Sinai resident Abdel Rahman Salem Al-Mubarak, who had gone missing earlier. He was shot by a member of the Islamic State (IS)-affiliated group.
“The decapitated heads of two citizens, who were also reported missing, were found near the Abu Arafat district, south of Rafah city. [We must assume that] they were slaughtered by members of ‘Sinai Province’,” a Rafah-based journalist asserted to Daily News Egypt Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
As of recently, militants have been kidnapping North Sinai residents, who they suspect to be “operators” collaborating with police and army stationing points in the governorate, on a more and more regular basis. Some of those kidnapped are shot or slaughtered and then left in popular squares in Al-Arish city, according to earlier statements from the IS group which included footage of the kidnapped person being killed.
The majority of the kidnappings are happening in view of other residents, on streets, or at tribal groupings. “Militants penetrate tribal groupings and quietly ask the wanted person to follow them,” a Rafah-based journalist told Daily News Egypt previously on condition of anonymity.
“Sinai Province” has apparently been carrying out daily investigations to eliminate army and police collaborators, which accounts for the frequency of these kidnappings.
The journalist added: “Some of the people the group kidnaps are not army collaborators, but they are still investigated by the group. However, even if it is proven that they are not army collaborators, they are still murdered”.
North Sinai has been a focal point of confrontation between the Egyptian security apparatuses and Islamic militants, of which several claim to be affiliated to IS. Since 2013, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, the militants have launched several deadly attacks against army stationing points.