Civilians injured in North Sinai attacks

Ahram Online, Saturday 20 Sep 2014

Two, including a young boy, were injured in separate attacks late Friday near Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai

People check the scene where a car bomb exploded in near the port town of El-Arish in Egypt's Sinai peninsula on 24 July 2013. (Reuters)

Two civilians were wounded in apparent militant attacks in Egypt's North Sinai city of Sheikh Zuweid late Friday.

A 50-year-old man was shot in the leg on the Arish-Rafah Road near Sheikh Zuweid, state news agency MENA reported.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters' Aswat Masriya, a nine-year-old boy was wounded in an IED attack near a security checkpoint in Sheikh Zuweid.

A security source told Aswat Masriya that the IED was meant to hit forces at the checkpoint.

Civilians have recently been caught in the crossfire between army forces and militant Islamic insurgents in the restive area of North Sinai.

On Friday, authorities found a decapitated body of a young man, one of several victims who have been beheaded since August.

Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for killing four of the men, accusing them of collaborating with Israel against the group.

Earlier in September, media reported shootings and civilians killed while others suffered injuries from bomb blasts.

Some media reports have also claimed that civilians have been affected by army operations as it continues to fight an Islamist insurgency in the area. Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that security forces in Sinai were working to ensure the safety of innocent civilians.

The military claims it has killed and arrested hundreds of "terrorists" in recent months, while militant attacks on security sites and personnel has claimed scores of lives.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife on the appearance of Islamic State (IS) — a militant group that has overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria —cells in Sinai.

General Mohamed Rashad, a former deputy director of the General Intelligence Services, told Ahram Online that Sinai is a worrying terror hotbed and “a major tributary for the export of extremism."

Egyptian intelligence authorities continue to gather information alongside military operations against militant hideouts and hotbeds in the area.

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