search

Booby traps left inside Sinai homes by IS kill at least 14 civilians

Jihadists took over town of Bir al-Abd, but were later then driven away, leaving behind explosives that have claimed the lives of women and children

Illustrative: People gather at Al-Rawda Mosque in Bir al-Abd northern Sinai, Egypt, a day after attackers killed hundreds of worshipers, November 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Tarek Samy)
Illustrative: People gather at Al-Rawda Mosque in Bir al-Abd northern Sinai, Egypt, a day after attackers killed hundreds of worshipers, November 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Tarek Samy)

EL-ARISH, Egypt — More than a dozen civilians, including women and children, were killed in Egypt’s restive northern Sinai Peninsula over the past two weeks from explosive devices laid down in their homes by terrorists, security and medical officials said Sunday.

Islamic State jihadists in July attacked several villages in the town of Bir al-Abd, forcing people to flee their homes. The military secured the villages in August and allowed residents to return to their homes a few weeks later, the officials said.

The terrorists, however, had laid booby traps in several houses that they took over. The explosive have killed at least 14 people, including six from the same family late on Saturday, officials said. The casualties included women and children.

At least ten others have been wounded since October 12 and were taken to the town’s hospital for treatment, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Bir al-Abd was the site of a horrific extremist attack on a mosque in 2017 that killed over 300 worshipers, some of them fathers praying with their young sons. The tribes of North Sinai have been heavily targeted by Islamists who view their veneration of Muslim saints and shrines as heretical, forcing a mass exodus of residents from the impoverished area that has long been underdeveloped by the government.

Illustrative. A member of the Egyptian armed forces patrols outside al-Maza military airport in Cairo after a Sinai terror attack, January 30, 2015. (AFP/ Mohamed el-Shahed)

Violence and instability there intensified after the military overthrew the country’s Islamist president in 2013 amid nationwide protests against the Muslim Brotherhood group’s divisive rule. Extremist militants have since carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and minority Christians.

The conflict has largely taken place out of public view, with journalists and outside observers barred from the area. The conflict has so far not expanded into the southern end of the peninsula where popular Red Sea tourist resorts are located.

In February 2018, the military launched a massive operation in Sinai that also encompassed parts of the Nile Delta and deserts along the country’s western border with Libya. Since then, the pace of Islamic State attacks in Sinai’s north has diminished.

read more:
comments