Drive-by shootings targeting police and army personnel have become relatively frequent in Egypt since the ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in June 2013.
The vast majority of attacks took place in Sinai, though drive-by shootings have occurred throughout the country.
In December alone, such attacks killed three security personnel, two in Sinai and one in Alexandria. In another incident, a military officer was seriously injured in Cairo.
“This happens every week,” said Mohamed Qadri Saeed, head of the Strategic and Military department at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. He added that that there is not enough information to link these attacks to army operations against Sinai-based insurgent groups.
Militants shot and killed a police conscript driving a prisoner transport vehicle in the Sidi Gabir district of Alexandria on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Ministry of Interior.
The prisoner inside the vehicle was set to be released, according to the Ministry of Interior spokesperson. An army statement issued Monday said that gunmen opened fire at an armed forces officer in El-Marg, north-east of Cairo. The officer was heading to work, when militants on a motorbike fired multiple shots at him. He was transferred to a military hospital, having suffered multiple injuries. In another drive-by shooting, militants killed two policemen in Sinai on 15 December.
The attack took place in Al-Arish town, northeast Sinai, near a police post as the policemen were heading to work, AFP reported. Military spokesperson Mohamed Samir issued a statement Sunday saying that army forces killed 14 “terrorists” in the span of three days.
On Monday, security forces killed five militants allegedly belonging to the ‘Sinai State’ militant group, formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, until it pledged loyalty to Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham (ISIS).
Saeed said that the army provides protective shields to its officers and soldiers, but the security expert added that this is not enough to protect security personnel from these kinds of attacks.
Security analyst Magdy El-Bassiouny explained: “Everybody knows we are in a war against terrorism.” He added: “Our losses do not compare to theirs, not to mention the number of arrests on their side.” The former assistant of the Minister of Interior added: “At first, they used to attack facilities and buildings, now the target individuals using techniques like drive-by shootings…this indicates failure on their side.”
El-Bassiouny nonetheless acknowledged the difficulty to counter this technique, as it is very hard to provide personal protection to all individuals, and he believes the best way to fight these attacks is to “launch pre-emptive strikes.”