A number of 31 alleged militants were killed in separate clashes with Egyptian security forces following an attack on a police checkpoint last Wednesday which killed eight policemen, according to the ministry of interior.
Since Wednesday, the ministry released four different statements announcing the killing of the alleged militants, five in one operation, 14 in the second, eight in the third, and finally four in the latest. The identities and charges of the dead suspects were not revealed, but the statements announced that they possessed weapons and were hiding in abandoned areas in Al-Arish.
The statements claimed that the deceased took part in the attack on the Batal 14 checkpoint in north Sinai’s city of Al-Arish. The attack left one officer, one non-commissioned-officer, and six conscripts killed. It took place during the early hours of the first day of Eid al-Fitr (Lesser Bairam). Military funerals took place to commemorate the fallen soldiers in multiple cities.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) affiliate Sinai Province group which published on several social media accounts pictures claiming to be from the assault on Batal 14 checkpoint. The pictures showed militants assaulting the checkpoint.
On 16 May, the Egyptian army killed 47 alleged terrorists during four military operations in Sinai, the military spokesperson stated. In last February, the military launched a comprehensive operation, titled “Sinai 2018”, to confront militants in central and north Sinai, the Nile Delta region, and the western desert.
At the end of May, Egypt’s armed forces spokesperson, Tamer Al-Refaei, denied the findings of a recent report issued by an international non-governmental organisation of alleged human rights violations during the Egyptian army’s operations in Sinai against terrorist groups.
Speaking to the state-run agency MENA on Tuesday, Al-Refaei said that “some politicised organisations seek to defame the image of Egypt and its army through fabricating such reports.”
He added that the armed forces have taken into consideration international standards regarding human rights on protecting civilians during military operations against terrorists, and conducting airstrikes outside residential zones.