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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Egypt: ISIS claims responsibility for a Saturday attack against military in North Sinai

Egyptian Armed Forces in North Sinai
(Image: DW)
Another sound of attacks hit Egyptian military checkpoints in North Sinai on Saturday, 18 July, the second day of Eid Al-Fitr holiday. Egyptian Armed Forces stated on Saturday, that ISIS affiliated militants have attacked two military checkpoints south of the city Sheikh Zuweid. MENA news agency also reported about an attack claiming mortar rockets and live ammunitions were used by the militants against the security forces.

Three soldiers were killed and four security forces personnel wounded as a result of an attack, according to the official statement of Mohamed Samir, Egypt’s Armed Forces spokesperson. A number of militants were also killed in the following military counter-attack. Reporters though stated that five soldiers were killed and seven soldiers wounded.

Mortar rockets rounds were shot at two military checkpoints to the south of Sheikh Zuweid, according to the official information. Terrorist also used live ammunition, and the clashes followed the main attack. Egyptian Armed Forces faced an attack, killing several militants and destroying two vehicles belonging to them. In addition to that Egyptian Army continues its military operation against the ISIS targets in North Sinai, including regular aerial raids against the militants.

A deadly Sinai attack on Saturday came shortly after Egyptian Armed Forces issued two separate statements regarding the military operation and security situation in North Sinai. In one of the statements is stated that 45 ISIS affiliated militants were killed and dozens were arrested as a result of the military raids in the Sheikh Zuweid area. Multiple targets in North Sinai were also attacked by Egyptian military.

The later TV statement of the military claimed that 14 militants were killed in an army counter-attack.

Army spokesperson Mohamed Samir stated also that Egyptian Army engaged in the battles with the jihadist fighters in three different areas outside of the city of Sheikh Zuweid.

Thus, a Saturday attack was claimed by Sinai based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group that recently pledged allegiance to ISIS and named itself Vilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) and fights for the ISIS cause, systematically targeting Egyptian security forces and civilians as well. Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and policemen were killed during two years of Sinai insurgency since the Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from office in summer 2013. ISIS affiliated groups in Sinai remain resilient despite the massive military operations launched by Egyptian Armed Forces against them and the despite the growing pressure of Egyptian government.

ISIS claimed responsibility for a series of recent terrorist attacks carried out in Egypt, including attacking Egyptian naval vessel in Mediterranean Sea on Thursday, 16 July. Egyptian naval vessel was attacked with the mortar fire from the shore, close to Israeli and Gaza border. ISIS also claimed responsibility for this attack.