By Nasser Al-Azzazi
A series of attacks on security checkpoints and headquarters in the governorate of North Sinai took place in the late hours of Thursday.
The attacks occurred in the cities of Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah. An attack on Al-Joura checkpoint in south Sheik Zuweid left one soldier dead after being shot in head, another officer injured and five other soldiers seriously injured. The checkpoint lies on a road leading to a peacekeeping forces camp and the Central Security Forces camp in Rafah.
A medical source inside Sheikh Zuwied Hospital identified the dead soldier as Yehia Mohamed Abuol-Magd. He immediately died after sustaining a bullet to the head. The source added that Omar Abdel-Rahman and Ossama Fathallah were also shot and have been taken to Al-Arish General Hospital where they received first aid.
Police and assailants exchanged fire in Sheikh Zuweid, 10 kilometers away from the checkpoint. Residents described the gunfire as the most violent they had ever experienced and said it led to fear and panic.
Similar attacks took place on a checkpoint in Sheikh Zuwied, and another on Al-Masoura checkpoint, one kilometer away from the Rafah border crossing.
A source inside the North Sinai Security Directorate said Al-Arish International Airport came under heavy attack from the back of the airport, which overlooks a desert area. There was also an attack on a checkpoint in the southern entrance of Al-Arish, in the vicinity of the airport.
Two explosions occurred in a Central Security Forces camp in Al-Ahrash area in Rafah. A medical source said four soldiers were injured and taken to a hospital in Rafah, and another was taken to Al-Arish General Hospital.
The military intelligence building in Rafah came under attack by gunfire as well. Eyewitnesses said a security building was attacked by armed men who opened heavy fire on the building. No casualties were reported from this attack.
Three apache helicopters took off from the airport, circling the skies of Al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah in search of those who carried out the attacks.