Two army conscripts were killed and three injured on Saturday night due to the explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) that targeted their armored vehicle in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, the army’s media office told Daily News Egypt on Sunday.
The attack targeted the armored vehicle while it was sweeping the area for members of ‘Sinai Province’. The three injured in the attack were transferred to Al-Arish Military hospital. Army and police forces launched intensive inspection operations, aiming to arrest the executors of the attack, a North Sinai-based journalist clarified on condition of anonymity.
“Militants believed to be members of Islamic State (IS)-affiliated group ‘Sinai Province’ targeted the armored vehicle in El Gowra area of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai,” he added.
Officials from the army’s media office denied circulated news regarding another attack that targeted Sheikh Zuweid police station and that a conscript was killed by a sniper in El Gowra.
Recently, a number of senior non-commissioned police officers were killed inside their homes as part of a series of murders of police officers in North Sinai.
Throughout the last two weeks, more than four non-commissioned officers were killed in similar purge operations in and around Al-Arish. Residents believe that these assassination operations were also carried out by Sinai Province.
Last week, a non-commissioned officer was killed south of Al-Arish, after militants stormed his home and opened fire on him. Three militants executed the operation using a truck and confiscated his service weapons, amongst other personal belongings. The Ministry of Interior did not publish any statement regarding the incident.
Militants execute these purge operations as a new war strategy, residents said.
The state of emergency has been declared over North Sinai ever since interim president Adly Mansour, who came into office following Mohammed Morsi. It was last extended in January 2016.
Clashes between state security forces and Sinai Province militants have recently intensified, as security forces continue Operation Martyr’s Right.
Militants are mainly based in North Sinai in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish, where residents have long complained about severe neglect from the government in providing vital services, infrastructure, education, and healthcare.