Armed assailants affiliated with the “Islamic State” (IS) attacked a compound owned by a cleaning company called Care Service in Al-Arish, North Sinai early Sunday, local media reported.
They set the compound on fire; however no injuries were reported among the company’s workers. Ambulances and civil defence squads arrived at the compound soon after to contain the situation.
Security sources and eyewitnesses told local media outlets that more than 15 IS militants dressed in black and masks arrived on foot from the direction of the south ring road south. The militants attacked the company services compound, located approximately 200 metres from the Al-Arish Ring Road.
The militants reportedly divided into three groups. The sources said the first group ordered the workers out of the building under the threat of weapons.
The sources said the second and the third group poured gasoline on the equipment stores and private cars and set fire to them. Moreover the witnesses said several explosions ensued, resulting from fuel tanks that were set on fire.
Security sources said the attackers were probably seeking employees since they believed that they have been informing police and authorities of explosives planted by them.
The sources said the initial losses from the attack amounted to approximately EGP 22m.
The company purportedly received several previous threats, demanding from the cleaning workers not to remove the garbage from security and police buildings, according to eyewitnesses’ statements to local media.
North Sinai has become a hub for frequent attacks and violence as fighting rages on between Egyptian security forces and the IS-linked “Sinai Province”, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. The group became largely active following the ousting of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and has gained dominance in the region since.