By Nasser Azazi
Sunday night was a bloody one in North Sinai, after a number of militant groups targeted security headquarters and checkpoints in the cities of Al-Arish and Rafah, leaving six dead and eight injured from amongst the cities’ police, army and civilian residents.
Militants launched three coordinated attacks on separate security headquarters Sunday afternoon, resulting in the death of three members of the region’s security forces, two from the armed forces and one police officer.
Security sources and eye witnesses stated that snipers targeted soldier Islam Muhammad Al-Sayyid, who sustained injuries in his head while standing in front of the Administrative Censorship Building in Al-Arish. Police officer Ayman Hassan Muhammad died during attacks launched on Al-Arish’s third police station after sustaining injuries to the chest. Unknown assailants traveling in a car without licence plates fired on soldier Fadi Ali Muntasr Abed Al-Galil while he was standing in front of the North Sinai Radio Building. Galil died en route to the hospital.
Meanwhile, vicious battles raged Sunday night between militants and army and police officers for over two hours. Terrorists targeted a number of headquarters and security checkpoints in central Al-Arish, among them the city’s second police station, the Administrative Censorship building, the headquarters of the military prosecutor and a security checkpoint located in front of a National Bank of Egypt branch.
All targets were in the vicinity of Al-Malah Square on Al-Fatah street. Another security checkpoint located in front of the Sinai Sun hotel, where a number of police officers were staying, was also attacked, prompting security forces to respond with live fire against the assailants. They were aided by Apache helicopters who conducted intense aerial surveillance in the airspace located above the attacks.
Tariq Khater, first Undersecretary from the Ministry of Health of North Sinai, stated that three died as a result of the attacks, including Muhammad Mustafa Abu Khadra, a soldier who was standing guard at the checkpoint located in front of the National Bank of Egypt branch, in addition two civilians, Muhammad Faisal Al-Sherriff, and Walid Ismail Al-Tantawi. Other civilians injured included Al-SayyidNafin Hassan Abd Al-Karim who sustained injuries in his right hand, and Hassan Ahmed Aesh who sustained injuries in his soldier. Both were rushed to the Al-Arish hospital.
Militants also fired RPGs on a security forces’ base located in the Al-Arish neighborhood of Rafah, in addition to a sports arena under the jurisdiction of the armed forces. Soldiers, police and civilians were reported as injured following the attack. Those injured included First Lieutenant Abd Al-Fatah Mohamad Abd Al-Fatah, in addition to soldiers Mohamad Mahmud Al-Sayyid, Ahmed Mohamad, Salah Ahmed Mahmoud and two others whose names were withheld. Civilian Mohamad Suleiman Alyan was also injured, sustaining injuries to his stomach.