Four residents from the North Sinai city of Al-Arish were injured as a result of an explosion that took place in the centre of Al-Arish on Sunday morning, residents from the city told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity.
Following the explosion, security forces were deployed in the area and cordoned off the explosion site. Other security members were reportedly injured in the explosion, but no accurate number has been made available, residents added.
“Security forces arrived to the site and closed Abu Soqal bridge following an explosion that took place in central Al-Arish Currently residents and students of a nearby school are in a state of panic,” one of the residents who preferred to remain anonymous clarified.
The explosion is believed to have been the work of the Islamic State (IS) affiliated group “Sinai Province”, which has been engaged in ongoing military confrontations with police and army forces in the Sinai Peninsula since 2013.
“’Sinai Province’ executed the explosion targeting a security stationing point in the centre of the city,” a resident noted. “They not only target security members but also civilians, as part of their military operations and assassinations,” the residents clarified.
Meanwhile, the army’s official spokesperson Mohamed Samir published a statement Saturday evening asserting that the army killed six militants during a sweeping operations conducted in North Sinai.
Moreover, the army informed the public that four conscripts lost their lives during the aforementioned operations, which reportedly witnessed success in arresting several “wanted” militants.
“The Egyptian Armed Forces, with the participation of the police, continued the ‘Martyr Right’ military operation to establish security and stability in all cities and villages in the cities of Al-Arish, Rafah, Sheikh Zuwaid,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the army succeeded in finding explosive materials and detonated 12 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that would have been used against military forces during the ongoing sweeping operations.
On Saturday morning, an army lieutenant colonel was killed along with two other conscripts following an IED explosion that struck their armoured vehicle. Four other conscripts were injured in the same attack.
Lieutenant colonel Ramy Hassanein, the leader of the commandos battalion known as Al-Sa’aqa based in North Sinai, was the one killed in the attack. The names of the two additional conscripts killed in the attack and the names of the four others who were injured remain unknown, according to army sources who preferred to remain anonymous.
Since 2013, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, “Sinai Province” has launched dozens of deadly attacks against army stationing points.
In 2014, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched a counter-insurgency campaign targeting militants in North Sinai, though the group still represents a “chronic headache” to the current regime.