By Nasser al-Azazi
Armed assailants attacked two separate security headquarters Sunday night in Al-Arish in North Sinai, resulting in the injury of two police officers. The attacks, launched simultaneously, were coordinated to take place during iftar. The targets included an Al-Arish police station in addition to the Police Officers Club located on Fateh Street, along the Al-Qantara Al-Arish international road.
A security source said armed men riding in a four-wheel-drive truck attacked the Police Officers Club located along the coastal road in Al-Arish, resulting in the injury of Sabhi Bakr Muhammad, 35, who sustained bullet wounds to his shoulder. The assailants were later chased by security forces through palm trees located alongside the club.
Police officer Jouda Abd al-Fatah Muhammad, 22, was also injured, sustaining injuries in his stomach after assailants fired shots at a police station in Al-Arish. Those injured were transferred to the city’s military hospital.
Unknown assailants, thought to belong to an extremist religious group in North Sinai, used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to blow up the shrines of two religious leaders. The first shrine belonged to Sheikh Hamid Abu Jarir, located in the Al-Mughara region of the city of Al-Hassana in Central Sinai, with the second belonging to Sheikh Salim Ashraf Abu Jarir in the Mazar region in the city of Bir Al-Abd.
The attacks were coordinated and took place at the same time, with the assailants fleeing both scenes in four-wheel-drive pickup trucks without licence plates.
Sources said the two graves themselves and the surrounding cemeteries were not affected by the blasts. No casualties were reported.
Sources said the two graves held the bodies of local North Sinai religious mystics who were members of the Sawarka tribe. Family members were often known for visiting the graves during holidays and special occasions.
Tribal sources stated popular outrage had spread amongst the people of Sinai for what they considered to be attacks that violated the sanctity of the dead.
Another grave, located in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai was previously exposed to three separate attempted bombings since the outbreak of the January 25th revolution. The four walls surrounding the grave have since been destroyed as a result of the blasts. No casualties were reported in any of these cases.
In the last 48 hours however, Sinai has witnessed relative calm in terms of the number of attacks being launched against police headquarters and security checkpoints in the region, which spiked considerably immediately following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.