Armed forces affiliated to the third field army managed on Saturday to kill a leading figure in the IS-affiliated group of “Sinai Province” in a sweeping operation in central Sinai. He had been responsible for killing five security conscripts recently, a North-Sinai-based journalist told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity.
The leading figure killed, named Hamd Salem Soliman, was 30 years old and specialised in planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and launching military attacks against police and army checkpoints based in North and central Sinai, he added.
Soliman killed five security conscripts on 23 January when they were back to their military units based in central Sinai following a short vacation. They were killed after other militants forced them from a minibus and opened fire on them.
Recently, the IS-affiliated group “Sinai Province” published photos of the five conscripts killed by the militants. Soliman was targeted through a military operation, where an exchange of fire took place, leading to his death, the local journalist noted.
Details of the five conscripts’ incident showed that anonymous militants stopped a minibus carrying the conscripts on 23 January. The conscripts were on their way back to their camps in central Sinai. The militants ordered them to step out of the vehicle before opening fire.
Following the attack, security forces and other battalions affiliated to the army’s Sa’ka Forces began wide sweeping operations in the area where the attack took place, aided by helicopters.
Since 2013, state security forces represented by both the army and police have been engaged in violent clashes with “Sinai Province,” known previously as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. In 2014, the group declared its affiliation to IS and has launched deadly attacks on army and police checkpoints.
Over the course of the last two years, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched counterattacks against militant stationing points across the Sinai Peninsula where the group is based, particularly in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish.