By Nasser Al-Azzazi
A group of unknown armed militants carried out a series of attacks Friday night in Al-Arish, capital of North Sinai, resulting in the death of two civilians, with an additional three injured, two of whom soldiers.
Militants also launched an attack on a security checkpoint in the neighborhood of Al-Safa, located along the ring road located in Al-Arish’s eastern district. Soldier Muhammad Al-Sayyid Zaki sustained foot injuries as a result of the attack. Zaki was later rushed to Al-Arish hospital, where his condition was described as “under control”.
Militants later launched mortars at a border security checkpoint in Al-Arish located along the Mediterranean Sea coastline in the neighborhood of Gharnata. However the mortars missed their target, landing instead in the home of Sami Atia Rafia, 55, who died as a result of the attack, along with a guest who was staying in his home. Rafia’s son, Hamada Sami Atia, 23, also sustained injuries in his foot as a result of the attack. Hamada was rushed to a hospital in Ismailia, where it was required that his foot be amputated.
Armed militants also launched attacks on a military security checkpoint in the Al-Risa neighborhood located in the southern district of Al-Arish, injuring a First Lieutenant officer.
A medical source said the soldier was transferred to Al-Arish’s military hospital, describing his condition as “severe”.
Unknown assailants also launched additional attacks early Saturday morning on a military checkpoint located in an agricultural neighborhood near the Al-Arish airport. No casualties were reported as a result of the attack.
Eyewitnesses said unknown assailants riding in a four wheel drive vehicle fired on soldiers manning a security checkpoint who returned fire on the vehicle, forcing the assailants to flee the area.
Immediately following the attacks, citizens took to demonstrating in squares throughout Al-Arish, in particular Al-Fuwahiria Square, condemning acts of terrorism against both soldiers and civilians, chanting slogans against those responsible for the attacks.
Abd Al-Hamid Salmi, a leader within the Al-Fuwakhiri tribe, stated that the funeral procession for those civilians murdered Friday night would start from the Abi Bakr Al-Sadiq mosque in Al-Fuwakhiria. The procession would include citizens condemning acts of terrorism, he said, calling on the army to pursue and get rid of those responsible.
On Friday night, residents of Al-Arish launched demonstrations both against terrorism and in support of Egypt’s armed forces, in the latter’s war against those operating outside of the law. Protesters carried Egyptian flags and raised pictures of Colonel General Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, chanting in unison: “the people and the army are one hand, against terrorism.”
Hassam Rafai, Chairman of the Sinai Future Bloc, said Sinai residents would organise a popular conference Saturday night in Al-Fuwakhiria Square in central Al-Arish for the purpose of denouncing terrorism and reinforcing the people’s support for Egypt’s armed forces.
In a statement, Sinai residents expressed their support for the armed forces and condolences for military causalities. The statement asked that all political differences be put aside and called on “all sectors of Egyptian society to stand alongside us in our struggle to put an end to bloodshed and terrorism,” as well as for the interim government to “move quickly to promote real development in Sinai.”