North Sinai witnessed violent clashes between militants and security personnel in Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in separate attacks, leading to 9 security and civilian casualties and injuries, security officials said.
At least five people were killed Monday morning in a staged militant heist on the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) branch in Al-Arish. The Ministry of Interior said three policemen, the bank’s security guard, and a woman were killed, and others were injured when gunmen opened fire and used improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Security forces were able to neutralise further explosives in the area surrounding the bank. The NBE issued a statement confirming the killing of a security guard and policemen, in addition to the robbing the bank’s main vault.
A civilian source in the area said that the bombings affected the flow of the educational day in nearby schools causing panic among students.
Another attack reportedly targeted security forces guarding the MarGerges Church.
Reuters cited eyewitnesses saying that pickup truck carrying militants were deployed to attack the security group which guarded the church.
On Sunday afternoon, the Karam Al-Qawadis checkpoint was attacked by militants believed to be members of the extremist group Sinai Province. The Army Spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday that six army personnel were killed in a “failed attempt to ambush the checkpoint.” He added that 24 militants were killed in actions, while another one was injured. The identities of the killed perpetrators were not revealed.
Some local sources said that the Sunday attack started at 4pm and lasted for two hours, adding that an estimation of the militants that participated in the attack reached 40, with more than three pickup trucks.
After the attack, the spokesperson posted aerial footage showing the targeting of individuals through air strikes. Hours later he also posted photos of six bodies allegedly belonging to the militants
The group posted a statement, published on affiliated social media accounts, said that the raid killed 40 military personnel “through raids on two positions west of Sheikh Zuweid and east of Arish” The statement added that several weapons were seized, while other military facilities were targetted such as Al-Zohour camp, Arish airport, and other checkpoints.
The extremist group added that they fired two rockets at Israel. Indeed, Israeli officials and media reported that the two rockets were fired at southern Israel coming from Sinai, “likely by an affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group”, the Israeli Defence Forces said. No deaths or injures were reported.
Deadly clashes have been taking place between militants and security forces since 2013.
Last week, the second field army in North Sinai foiled an attack on a security checkpoint in Arish. A day before six army forces were killed in the same city.
North Sinai witnessed the deadliest attack in two years on 7 July. An Islamic State (IS) group claimed the attack, which killed over 20 in Rafah. It was followed by intense clashes, which the army said resulted in the killing of 40 militants.
Thus, measures undertaken by the army to combat terrorism continue. They include operations such as the Martyr’s Right series of which the fourth phase was launched in mid-July. Such operations target terrorist dens, and alleged militants are often killed or captured.
Moreover, a military buffer zone on the borders with Gaza entered its third construction phase in October. In parallel, Palestinian Hamas Group, which has recently reconciled with Egypt, has announced the completion of the first phase of a buffer zone in Gaza on the borders with Egypt.
The Egyptian army also continues to target tunnels near the borders in North Sinai to prevent the smuggling of weapons.