As a continuation of the large scale army operations in North and Central Sinai, forces affiliated with the third field army on Saturday managed to arrest 12 militants during a sweeping operation in Central Sinai, a statement issued by the army’s official spokesperson said.
The statement noted that the operation also led to the seizure of 12 cell phones and seven four-wheel vehicles that were used by militants in executing attacks against army and security forces’ checkpoints.
On Friday, North Sinai security chief Sayed El-Habal appeared in a military uniform inside the streets of Al-Arish city to promote a sense of security after Coptic families fled from the city due to a rise of violence by militants affiliated to the IS-affiliated group of ‘Sinai Province’.
Despite the fact that the city of Al-Arish saw great presence of security forces during the past few days, violence by militants is still prevalent in the city. On Saturday night, masked militants drove two private vehicles into the well-known Cairo street of Al-Arish city, released a young man from their vehicles and then executed him with gunshots to the head.
According to a North Sinai-based journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the militants—believed to be members of ‘Sinai Province’—conducted the execution in front citizens and residents of the city.
“The young man, whose name was Mohamed Samir, was reportedly kidnapped previously. The militants brought him to the city in two private vehicles—Hyundai Vernas. He was blindfolded and tied up when they opened fire on him.”
Following the shooting, the militants fled the scene and the pedestrians who witnessed the incident rapidly notified police authorities, who arrived at the crime scene with ambulances to transfer the young man’s corpse to the nearest hospitals, he added.
Meanwhile, the corpses of two civilians, who were killed in an ‘improvised explosive device’ (IED) explosion in an agricultural area around the city of Rafah, arrived on Sunday night at Al-Arish Hospital, according to local media reports. After their arrival at the hospital, the prosecution began investigations into the incident.
Since 2013, state security forces represented by both the army and the police, have been engaged in violent clashes with ‘Sinai Province’, known previously as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. In 2014, the group declared its affiliation to IS and has launched deadly attacks on army and police checkpoints.
Over the course of the last two years, the Egyptian armed forces launched counterattacks against militant stationing points across the Sinai Peninsula, where the group is based, particularly in the cities of Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al-Arish.