The Egyptian Security Forces Fail in Curbing ISIS Power in Sinai

 The turmoil in the Sinai Peninsula is still escalating where the ISIS affiliate, ‘Sinai Province’, is targeting Egyptian security forces.

An Egyptian police conscript was shot dead southern Rafah by insurgents believed to be members of ‘Sinai Province’. The dead conscript was a member of the Sadwet checkpoint security force.

In a statement issued by the ‘Sinai Province’, the ISIS-affiliated group claimed responsibility for destroying an M113 tank and then clashing with the officers and conscripts who were inside it and the accompanying army platoon, according to a statement issued by the group’s media office.

The statement said, “Thanks to Allah, Caliphate soldiers were able to target the platoon affiliated to the apostate Egyptian Armed Forces on the Al-Arish-Rafah International Road. The attack resulted in the destruction of an M113 tank by an improvised explosive device (IED). Following the explosion, clashes erupted between Caliphate soldiers and conscripts from the platoon. These clashes resulted in the death and injury of several army members.”

In addition, the statement said that the militants managed to obstruct another platoon’s mission to storm a faction of Sinai Province in Sheikh Zuweid by armoured vehicles. The Armed Forces were met by tough resistance and their mission failed.

The Egyptian military forces have been launching various attacks on the Sinai Province in Sheikh Zuweid and it has implemented harsh security measures on the Sinai Peninsula residents. The Egyptian Army believes that the residents host the insurgents within their villages. The residents have been forced to leave their houses and land by the military forces.

The insurgencies are mainly based in Sheikh Zuweid, Rafah, and Al Arish where residents have long complained being neglected by the Egyptian State in terms of services provided by the government poor infrastructure and the absence of vital services such as health care and proper education.

In addition, Human Rights Watch said in a report released in 2015 that the Egyptian military has adopted mass home demolitions and forced eviction of about 3,200 families in the Sinai Peninsula over the past two years, violating the international law.

Sarah Leah Whitson -the Middle East director of HRW- said that “Destroying homes, neighborhoods, and livelihoods is a textbook example of how to lose a counterinsurgency campaign.” She added, “Egypt needs to explain why it didn’t use available technology to detect and destroy the tunnels and instead wiped entire neighborhoods off the map.”

A resident in Siani province said, “Residents of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah are continually subjected to detention at state security checkpoints across North Sinai governorate on suspicion of being affiliated to IS. This has been happening since the beginning of military operations in North Sinai.”

As reported by Sinai social media, the Egyptian regime has exposed several residents to arbitrary detentions and abuses that commonly occurred at state security checkpoints.

Daily News Egypt has cited residents of Sheikh Zuweid on condition of anonymity as saying that they are treated harshly on suspicion of being terrorists or ISIS members when passing any security checkpoint. They said that the strict measurements as inspections and searches have caused outrage among residents, especially when inspections are related to women (as it is against the Bedouin traditions and cultures).

The confrontations between the Sinai Province and the Egyptian security forces have recently escalated as Egypt’s security forces continue the Martyr’s Right operation. IEDs are being detonated nearby checkpoints and armoured vehicles on a near daily basis, reported the Daily News Egypt.