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Published On: Tue, Sep 12th, 2017

At least 18 policemen killed in attack in Egypt’s North Sinai

nsnbc : At least 18 policemen have been killed and three were wounded on Monday, in a terrorist attack in the city of Arish in Egypt’s North Sinai province. The Islamic State claimed according to the Amaaq news agency responsibility for the attack.

File photo: ABM bombs Egyptian military vehicle. Courtesy Youm7

File photo: ABM bombs Egyptian military vehicle. Courtesy Youm7

Egypt’s Ministry of the Interior confirmed, according to Egypt’s State news agency MENA that the attack took place. However, the Ministry didn’t provide any other details than those that are already known. Three of the attackers were reportedly also killed in the incident.

Militants reportedly detonated one or more improvised explosive devices and destroyed four armored vehicles as well as a signal jamming vehicle. After the blast or blasts, the insurgents reportedly stormed toward the convoy. The attack then turned into a gunfight. Four ambulance workers were reportedly injured in this gunfight.

The Amaaq news agency reported that the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. Amaaq is clearly an Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, etc..) linked news agency. However, Amaaq’s journalistic practices would hardly allow definitive conclusions about the validity of such a claim or definitive conclusions about organizational factors or chain of command.

Egyptian military establishes 1 km security corridor to facilitate a permanent opening of the Rafah border crossing.

File photo: Egyptian military establishes 1 km security corridor to facilitate a permanent opening of the Rafah border crossing.

Amaaq is more often than not relying on other media reports claiming ISIS links to claim that ISIS claimed responsibility. This may be an artifact of Islamic State’s decentralized organization but it makes it difficult if not impossible for media to “definitely” claim Islamic State carried out an attack “because it was reported in Amaaq” or for that sake “anywhere else”.

North Sinai has experienced low-intensity conflict for decades. However, insurgencies including Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) and the Muslim Brotherhood’s armed wing increased their activities after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. The conflict increased even further after the previously rather fringe ABM succeeded at creating a joint operations platform and command structure for itself, the Muslim Brotherhood, elements of the armed wing of Hamas in Palestine’s Gaza Strip, elements of Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as insurgents from Libya under the Islamic State brand and the name Wilayat Sinai.

North Sinai has been “relatively calm” since the summer of 2016 but there has recently been a renewed increase in attacks against police, military as well as tourists and infrastructure in several Sinai governorates and in Cairo. Absent definitive proof from either the Islamic State or Egyptian authorities it is safe to “assume” that the Egyptian ISIS franchise Wilayat Sinai, one of its constituent organizations, or “affiliated sympathizers” may have carried out the attack in Al-Arish.

F/AK – nsnbc 12.09.2017

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