A string of explosions took place amid continuing clashes between “State of Sinai” and the army in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid on Wednesday.
The violence started when militants attacked on at least five security checkpoint on Wednesday morning, according to the military spokesperson.
“State of Sinai”, the Sinai-based extremist group that has pledged allegiance to “Islamic State”, claimed the attacks via affiliated social media accounts, saying it attacked over 15 checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid.
Media reports said the attack included three suicide bombs, one of them on Al-Refaie checkpoint, reportedly killing all security personnel present.
A North Sinai resident told Daily News Egypt that the attacks, which all occurred at the same time, were some of “the biggest in Sheikh Zuweid”. He added that the Sheikh Zuweid police station was surrounded by militants on Wednesday morning.
He said that the road between Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid was blocked, and that there are reports of dozens of deaths on both sides. The resident added that numerous civilians lost their lives as a result of the clashes, which erupted this morning. No official confirmation of events has been made.
Sinai-based journalist Mostafa Singer told Daily News Egypt that “Sheikh Zuweid is currently out of security control”, and that clashes are ongoing between militants and security personnel.
The army announced shortly after the clashes started that the attacks left 22 militants dead, while 10 soldiers were killed or injured. However, several media outlets reported much larger number of army fatalities. News agency AP cited security sources saying that at least 30 soldiers had died.
Wednesday’s string of attacks follows the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat on Monday, which marked the most prominent attack by militants in recent times.
Hours prior Barakat’s death, “State of Sinai” posted a video featuring live footage of the three prominent judges out of four travelling in a vehicle, killed in May. All of them were known to rule on controversial cases in Egypt.