An army patrol was met with heavy fire on Sunday evening during a security sweep of El-Gowra village near Sheikh Zuweid city in North Sinai, a local journalist told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity.
The attack was launched by militants who are believed to be members of the “Sinai Province” militant group. An array of weapons was used to attack the army patrol, but this did not result in any injuries or casualties, the journalist said.
Contrary to this, “Sinai Province” issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, asserting that the attack resulted in the destruction of an armoured vehicle and that many army conscripts and officers were injured.
“Thanks to Allah, the army patrol was targeted with different types of weapons on El-Gowra road. The attack resulted in destroying the armoured vehicle, causing direct injuries and cutting off supply routes to army checkpoints located south of Sheikh Zuweid,” the statement read.
The Egyptian Armed Forces media office was not available for comment on the incident, despite several attempts by Daily News Egypt.
On Sunday evening, army and police forces conducted intensive security campaigns across the southern provinces of Al-Arish city to target militants affiliated to Islamic State (IS). All communication services, including the internet, were suspended during the security sweep, an Al-Arish-based journalist said on condition of anonymity.
In a similar attack at the beginning of September, a security patrol headed by the South Sinai deputy security director was targeted by heavy fire from anonymous militants during a security sweep operation, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
The security sweep was being conducted by police forces, in cooperation with the army, to look for wanted criminals in Wadi Feran, Abou Redis city of South Sinai governorate.
These intensive attacks by militants against police and army forces have become an almost daily occurrence. It is believed that the attackers are members of the IS-affiliated group “Sinai Province”. These attacks are mainly targeting army and police checkpoints in different areas of North Sinai.
Attacks in South Sinai governorate are seldom reported. The area is well known for being a safe tourism destination for Egyptians and other foreign nationals.
Sinai has become the scene of frequent clashes between militants and state security forces. An extensive counter-insurgency operation was launched to curb militancy within Sinai. These operations have imposed a state of emergency in the northern regions of the peninsula.